The example at the top of the article isn't very good. It is not clear to me that the manager didn't do the right thing. So the issue took 3-4 weeks to get solved.

"Everyone, including that manager, operated as though they were collaboratively discussing the issue."

That doesn't sound so bad. How do we know that the manager didn't "oversee a timely resolution"? Not everything needs to be solved yesterday. Maybe allowing everyone to collaborate on the issue and let it stew for a bit lead to the best outcome.

Speed != productivity != quality.

Not sure I can agree with most of this. Perhaps it's my own perspective, but I can't help but detect a latent undertone of "just tell people what to do so things get done" in this article. The first example is particularly egregious - assuming the problem being discussed was something legitimately complicated, how is it a bad thing that the leader helped the team determine the correct solution? Is the leader expected to dictate implementation of the first idea they had instead of allowing the team to explore other potential solutions?

While it's true that a leader usually cannot be effective without providing adequate direction to their team and "making the call" when an indecision point is reached, in my experience it's equally true that a leader cannot grow their team without being in touch with what they're working on. There's a reason that people are universally happier when they feel their manager _could_ do their job (note that the manager should not actually be doing their job - the capability to do so is the important part).

I feel that the author of this piece either hasn't experienced or hasn't yet found the way to lead a team without dictating. It is a difficult thing to do, but the proper balance will allow a leader to grow their team's skills and decision making capabilities far beyond what's possible otherwise. It is completely possible to "deliver results" while also remaining primarily collaborative and "participating" with your team - you just have to know when it's time to short-circuit and make the call.

Just reading Erin Meyer's Culture Map and it feels like, even though I really appreciate them, all those Managing articles apply only to the subset culture from where the author lives
This hit home for me. The current servant leader on my product team feels their job is only to foster discussion in hopes the right thing will magically happen. Unfortunately none of the team is stepping up to drive the outcome, so tasks will just sit and linger. I’ve tried to suggest goal-setting for the team but she’s unwilling to do so unless it came directly from the team, which again won’t happen because they’re not mature enough to take the initiative. It’s frustrating to watch.
As an engineer turned manager I often face blockers where I know that if I delegate it will take days or weeks to get it done properly, whereas if I just do it I will save myself and the team a lot of time.

However I'm still not sure if it's worth it in the end, perhaps it's one of these traps the article speaks of.

I've worked at companies like this - to the point where even C-level people behave this way - it is some of the most frustrating times I've had trying to get shit done when my work has been adjacent to another department. Very accurate article (in my experience).

EDIT: I think this sort of thing proliferates in cultures emphasising egalitarianism.

I don't see how is it failure of the management. The story is missing a reason why this particular issue should be treated as more urgent in the first place. It misses the reason why collaborative self-organized approach would be failure - after all appropriate person fixed it.

It sounds like it was situation in which it was initially unclear where the bug originated, people acted as intelligent independent agents and move the issue toward the solution.

Why is leadership so lauded? All I have seen is +100% of worrying for maybe +25% pay... Be a follower!