6 frogs are sitting on a lily pad.
1 frog decides to jump off.
How many frogs are left?
Most would say the answer is 5. But look closely, the answer is 6. Why? Because one only decided to jump off. There are two leadership parallels I would like to draw from this riddle.
1. Leaders can not simply decide to do something, they have to do it. One way to quickly erode the trust of a leader is for him or her to commit to a decision a team or employee has made and then do nothing or very little about it. A leader may agree to a goal or a set of goals, but if there is no follow up, that leader has not jumped off the lily pad and will have a difficult time convincing others to do the same later. Leaders must hold themselves accountable.
2. Leaders can not afford followers that decided and agreed to do something and don’t. Leaders need to hold employees accountable. Holding employees accountable is unpleasant for most, but it is critical. Jennifer may be your most productive worker, but if there is a policy that employees show up on time to work and Jennifer is regularly late, it will be noticed by your team. Jennifer’s behavior and the lack of accountability by you will be poisonous to the team. The leader will not be trusted and unproductive behavior will result.
So the point is, if you decide to do something; then jump. If your employees decide to do something; ensure they jump as well.