“Leadership is making a difference. It’s using your agency to bring about change.” — Melanne Verveer
Sometimes the single best thing you can do as a leader is to step aside and let people resolve issues themselves.
The single best change I made while working for a small company was that I stopped interfering. I stopped telling people how to do stuff and/or doing it myself.
Instead I started asking them questions about how they could solve problems themselves without having to involve me in the process.
It gave people a sense of agency while giving me time to do the stuff that I’m actually good at.
Some people probably felt hopeless or abandoned. Not everyone enjoys having that responsibility.
Those who didn’t like it went and sought advice and help elsewhere. But I’d say that for the vast majority it was an improvement.
Having people come up to me and giving me an update rather than a list of all the problems was a nice change of pace.
When they actually raised an issue it was because they’d exhausted their resources and it was something important.
However, as a leader you need to understand that you’re accountable for their results as well. If every decision has to be sanctioned by you then the system needs an overhaul. You need to give people the resources they need to handle issues themselves.
Otherwise your people are going to experience a crisis of agency. They won’t know what they can actually do.
You need to make it clear that while it’s OK for them to come to you, they have resources at their disposal to handle the majority of issues themselves.
Again, that also means that when they step out of bounds or turn to you too quickly you have to make the boundaries clear.
If you haven’t developed this method of operating yet then start taking steps toward it.
As soon as you do, you’ll start seeing better results.
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Have a kick-ass ₢eative day!