There is a saying in leadership: “What got you here won’t get you there”.
Although it may seem like a mere technicality, moving from taking responsibility for completing tasks, to taking accountability for making sure they are carried out effectively by others, is one of the trickiest parts of becoming a leader for so many.
Most people become managers because they have proved themselves excellent at taking responsibility – completing tasks in a timely, accurate and efficient manner, whilst demonstrating teamwork and a strategic mind. So they have proved that they can grow, improve, and learn new things.
Upon becoming a manager or leader in an organisation, however, we are expected to go from “doing”, to “being”.
We have to let go, to a large degree, of the “doing”, which can be a surprisingly difficult thing to do. We are so used to kicking ass, taking names, and pumping out tangible milestones and achievements, that when we are asked to now become accountable for an objective or project, it can be very difficult to let go of the task-based mindset that we naturally have so tightly held for many years.
This is because learning and growing can come so naturally to us, but letting go of what has made us so successful in the past can be a challenge.
This is why so many new managers struggle with delegation. It seems so counterintuitive to hand over responsibility for something when we know how to do it, and we got promoted because we were so proficient at it!
This need to feel competency, social acceptance and extrinsic recognition are built into us as humans, so it’s perfectly natural to feel uncomfortable, frustrated and exposed when we have to whip away these comforts, just when we have been promoted and want to shine.
But it’s absolutely necessary.
To be the leader that you wish to become, taking on this role of “being” is incredibly important – taking accountability for your team’s actions at a higher level.
You cannot be an effective leader whilst bogged down in the intricacies of someone else’s work. That is their job, and even if you could do it better / faster / whatever, it is still not your job.
Your job is to be there for them, guide them, represent them, empower them, motivate them, inspire them, teach them, support them, promote them. But your job is not to do their work for them.
That is called micromanagement, and that is toxic.
What you can do, though, is the following:
- Share with them a clear vision and direction for the team, and the organisation
- Communicate your expectations, and regularly share information
- Make time for them to have regular discussions, feedback, and space to ask questions in a safe environment
- Develop them as needed with training and coaching – coaching is not a penalty for poor performance, or a reward for great! It is for everyone who wishes to excel
And most importantly, trust them! Without trust, you can’t achieve anything great.
Interested in finding out more about how Coaching might assist you in this transformative time? Just get in touch with me here for a free 45 minute discussion, and let’s get you started!