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Great Leaders Have No Rules

Contrarian Leadership Principles to Transform Your Team and Business

By Kevin Kruse
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  • Contains 9 key ideas
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Great Leaders Have No Rules by Kevin Kruse

Great Leaders Have No Rules (2019) challenges leaders to adopt a contrarian approach to managing people and their time so that they succeed more easily and quickly. By identifying the flaws in traditional or typical leadership practices, it reveals why going against the grain results in better outcomes.

Key idea 1 of 9

Abandon your open-door policy and be more deliberate with your schedule.

In 2017, a memo written by talk-show host Steve Harvey went viral. His team was outraged! The memo was blunt. It demanded that anyone who wanted to speak to Harvey must now schedule an appointment. Without an invitation, his dressing-room door was firmly closed.

Author Kevin Kruse was shocked that everyone was so scandalized by Harvey’s memo. Sure, his phrasing could have been a little tamer, but Kruse saw Harvey’s request as completely reasonable. Sixty-year-old Harvey was hosting several TV and radio shows in three different states. Naturally, he needed some peace before a show to connect with his energy and humor. The ‘pop-in’ culture interrupted his focus on what mattered most.

In other words, far from criticising Steve Harvey, we should be copying him.

The key message here is: Abandon your open-door policy and be more deliberate with your schedule.

In a bid to promote trust, collaboration, and communication, most workplaces have adopted an open-door culture, giving team members access to their managers at any time. But rather than achieving that anticipated trust and ease of communication, it actually reduces your productivity as a leader and hampers your team from building crucial decision-making skills.

No matter how much you encourage them to use your open-door policy, statistics show that 50 percent of your team won’t feel comfortable speaking up when they have an issue. These are the folks that fear potential ramifications, like having their concerns dismissed or being judged as troublemakers. They’re also sensitive about having a manager follow-up on their complaint and risking new tensions amongst the team.

For everyone else? They’ll constantly interrupt your workday. That open door won’t just prevent you from getting work done, it’ll also stop your employees from making their own decisions. They’ll get into the habit of running straight for your approval, creating a culture of dependency instead of relying on themselves and possibly making a mistake.

To lead effectively, strike a balance between an open- and closed-door policy by nominating a recurring time when you’re available for employees. It could be for a full day once a week, or an hour every morning; whatever works best for your schedule and the team’s needs. That way, your team will still feel supported, and you’ll have uninterrupted time to tackle problems that need your attention most.

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