15 Feb Is your team making your job easier, or harder? Five Solutions.

If your answer is easier, congratulations! If your answer is harder, you are certainly not alone. The frustration I hear most often expressed by leaders is that of time. No time to think. No time to work on the important things that aren’t urgent, but have the potential to propel the business forward. No time for important things other than work (i.e., family, vacation, adventure, civic or charity work, etc.).

We’ve all heard the “right people in the right seats on the bus” stuff, but replacing your entire team is only easy on paper. The fact is, you hired your team because they have the skills, bought into your vision, and were likeable. Sure, they may have disappointed you since your hired them; but you probably aren’t the leader they thought you were either. Over time, you’ve both uncovered each other’s attributes and flaws.

Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 10.32.37 AMSo… how do you get your team back to accomplishing the heroic aspirations you have for them?

  1. Stop doing their work. Seriously. Your team wants the responsibility and accountability for which you hired them. Do what only you can do what you can do now. Delegate everything else. Now… not three weeks from now.
  2. Reinforce the innate courage within your team to nurture innovation and resourcefulness. Create an environment for the bold.
  3. Be very clear about the expectations. Help the team create pilots and proof of concepts where their ideas can fail with minimal impact. Foster humility so that when failure occurs, the entire team can collaborate and learn from the experience. Adversity is the anvil upon which resilient character traits are forged.
  4. If you want your team to focus, you must foster a culture of discipline.  Remember, if everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. Per Dave Crenshaw’s book, The Focused Business, identify the culprits that derail focus:
    • Making decisions based on poor assumptions. Or not changing direction when learning a prior assumption was faulty.
    • Trying to do it all, because you “don’t have the time to train someone,” or thinking, “No one can do this except me.”
    • Letting a bad apple hold the team hostage, because of skills they have knowing they care more about themselves than the team.
    • Chasing the shiny new ball…
    • Analysis paralysis…
  5. You do not have to be the smartest person in the room. If you feel that no one cares as much as you, question whether your vision is crystal clear to those around you. Is the team working towards something bigger than you – bigger than themselves?

People support what they help create. Let them help you achieve your vision by taking the time to truly develop your people. It may feel like you’re slowing down, but in the long run, you’ll be accelerating your growth… and get your life back.

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