Paint-by-Numbers Leadership

I recently had the chance to sit down with several leaders in an organization to learn more about their company’s approach to leadership. When I asked one leader to describe his company’s management and leadership style, he said they had a paint-by-numbers management team.

When he said that, my mind started running 90 miles an hour. I’ve never heard of this description, but boy have I seen and experienced it! Remember painting by numbers as a kid? It was a way for us to look like an artist. Where the picture said #4 we painted with color #4. If you stayed in the lines you ended up with a decent picture. The downside to painting by the numbers, though, was that you couldn’t paint anything else on your own. You had to stick with the numbers and stay within the lines. (more…)