“Someone should do that.”
Leaders hear this frequently, and sometimes we say it to ourselves. Perhaps I should have named my two children “Someone” and “Somebody” because they would always have employment opportunities!
If we don’t act, however, “Someone should do that” becomes SSDT, the dreaded leadership disease that rots organizations from within.
If someone says SSDT to you, dear leader, you have a handful of choices:
- Disagree, and explain why.
- Ignore it, and do nothing. (You should definitely write off the whiners and unconstructive complainers.)
- Agree, and decide a next step:
- Ask for help. (Maybe from the person who said SSDT?)
- Delegate the follow-through.
- Take the first leadership steps yourself. (Often it’s a better definition of the opportunity.)
When you hear yourself saying SSDT, you can
- Decide who the someone is.
- Support the person if it is not you – both active help and getting out of their way.
- Plan out action steps and go yourself.
- Seek wisdom and help from others.
The worst thing is to leave an SSDT unconsidered. It’s ok to defer an SSDT into the future, but you will run into more troubles if you ignore every SSDT and assume they will take care of themselves without a conscious process to sort, validate, and execute.
What do you think of SSDT situations? How do you handle them?
Adam Smith says
Great post, Glenn. People should take responsibility and do it themselves if they have time, but if not, delegation is there for a reason. In most cases, I try to ask for help and do it together, but it depends on the situation.
Jon Stolpe says
I’m in the process of reading QBQ (The Questions Behind The Question) by John Miller. He calls for everyone to practice personal accountability. I think leaders need to set the example when faced with these types of questions – they need to ask: “What can I do make a difference in this situation?”
Glenn Brooke says
Excellent question! This morning I was working on future blog post: “52 Great Questions to Ask Your Direct Reports.”
Jon Stolpe says
I look forward to reading this one!