Executive Magnification?

People on LinkedIn have recently discussed an interesting facet of the relationship between managers and team members, and how leaders can unintentionally cause angst and lost productivity.

The simple premise is that even a casual observation at a meeting or interaction can cause a disturbing ripple-effect that “unintentionally leads to a cascade of emails, directives and initiatives.”

Stanford’s Robert Sutton calls this “executive magnification,” the all too common act of taking a passing suggestion from someone in charge as dictate, a massive source of wasted time, money and effort.

A few suggestions were also offered on how leaders can avoid this pitfall:

  • Qualify their observations
  • Encourage honest feedback
  • Reward the skeptics who want to kill wasteful projects

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