Your business is growing, or you have responsibility for an expanding team, and you feel you have to do it all. It’s not that you lack confidence in your team’s abilities to do their job, but in your mind, and probably in reality, they’re not ready to do yours. But wait!You’ve been saying this for 6 months – what have you done to help them get ready? In total transparency, I have been there. In my mind:
- It’s faster if I do it
- I know if something fails, it will be my fault, and I’m willing to accept that
- And lastly, probably most importantly, I know it will be done to my standards, which of course translates to it being done right.
I probably shouldn’t let my kids read this; I can hear it now: “what you’re saying will be used against you when you ask me to empty the dishwasher or take out the trash.” How are your employees or team different? Most of my coaching clients realize they have to, and really want to, upskill those around them. When trying to get them to break through the mindset of doing everything on their own, an understanding of why they think this way is needed.
“I just don’t have the time” is a common response, to which I follow up with, “You just told me your company is going to double from ten employees to twenty this year. What will your day look like when that happens?”Another is, “They don’t have the skillset needed for that activity.” In which case, “What are you doing to build that skillset in them and raise their capability?” This is usually followed by a discussion around organizational structure, key talent, and retention that gets energy flowing and wheels turning.
There is a really good article from Harvard Business Review by Art Markman: “How to Stop Delegating and Start Teaching.” He lays out a compelling case to mentor, rather than micromanage, to create “a team of trusted associates who can step in and help.” Another added benefit to this effort, and it initially will be an effort, is that as you review their work, explain what you’re checking so they can understand not only what you’re looking for, but why it matters.
I think everyone acknowledges that investing in your employees to expand their roles not only provides long term benefit to you, but also empowers the employees themselves and can build loyalty. Taking the time to develop the talent in your organization is as critical as taking the time to invest in yourself. Where are your blind spots? Are you avoiding certain activities that would drive and impact your business? Take 15 minutes this week to reflect on these ideas and have a plan that will assist you in helping yourself and others.