I learned by diving in – Why can’t they?
This statement was not meant to be mean or pass the buck, it was born from the frustration of seeing senior level leaders not rising to the occassion after being given significantly more responsibility. I see it happen too often. It is a painful scenario, and it is one that can be avoided.
When the focus is put on answering the question – How did we get here?, the root cause ends up being some attitudes/assumptions that started the motion down the wrong path. Here are the top two:
Myth #1 – I did it all on my own, why can’t they. Really? As a parent, many times a day the thought creeps into my head “When I was little I had the same challenge, and I just figured it out .” Nobody ascends on their own. Whether its a spouse, mentor, friend, or some other significant person – someone stepped in hand helped you through rough spots. Solution: Commit 30 minutes a week to review goals, review progress, and answer questions (called a one on one) Here is a link to a template if you need one.
Myth #2 – It is okay to lose some of my money while they learn. Why do they not feel safe? Have you ever had the angst of telling your parents that you had an accident with their car? It was one of those conversations that teens through the ages have crafted countless schemes to avoid. We grow up, get a job, and all of the sudden we make a mistake that costs our organization thousands of dollars, and it is like we were a teenager again. Solution: Make it okay to make a mistake, provided you own it and have a plan to fix it.
When people become leaders of leaders, they realize how difficult it is to work through others to get results, and sometimes the default is to either leave them alone to figure it out, or step into their lives and help manage the details. Ken Blanchard called this Seagull Management. Fly in, dump, then leave.
Find an answer somewhere in the middle. Don’t be a Seagull.