What ever you know it as, a “committee”, “task force”, “working group” or “project team” has become one of the most popular means for many leaders to get things done.  Often its members come from different parts of an organisation, such as various functional units or divisions, and different levels ranging from line staff to management.  Individuals are selected for their expertise, their history in the organisation, and their interest in the project. Drawing from this varied pool enhances the project's chance for success because the group’s members:

  • bring together different skills and ideas,
  • become the project's advocates within the organisation,
  • silent rumours about the project,
  • foresee potential hurdles to implementation and build solutions into their recommendations.

This all sounds wonderful but the committee can still fail miserably.

The committee, in practice, will present their work or proposal to their leader who acts as the project sponsor.  Ideally, with or without some minor changes, the proposed resolution will be approved and implemented. 

Unfortunately, there is a leadership disease that if contracted will waste the committee’s efforts and, even worse, create counter-productive results – this is the disease of self-exhibition.

Infected with this disease, leaders will try to accumulate power and to this end are ready to defame and discredit others; they will usually put themselves on display to show that they are more capable than others. The only thing they are concerned about is being able to see themselves on the front page because it makes them feel powerful and glamorous, while causing great harm to others and to the organisation.

This infected leader will have a pattern of not approving the committee’s work and instead injecting his own ideas for implementation. Some do it at the very last minute, which creates lots of rework and of course, frustration.

Looking back to what we want to achieve from forming a committee, we clearly see that this type of leadership has failed to meet the objectives.  Worse yet, do you think anybody will want  to be a member of any future committees?