by Gwen Walsh – This article originally appeared in TechEdge LLC and is Reprinted with permission
Have you ever noticed that sometimes you get in the way of yourself — you become your own worst enemy? I hear hundreds of reasons as to why leaders don’t have the time to lead. Most reasons boil down to one common theme — leaders choose to get weighed down by the day-to-day tactics. Yes, I said “choose” because it’s a choice. I try to help leaders recognize that just because you can do X, doesn’t mean you should be doing X. As leaders, we owe it to ourselves, our organizations, our employees and our customers to add the most value possible, which we can only do if we’re calculatingly deliberate as to where and how we invest our time. What does “adding the most value possible” mean? To be “in high demand” and relevant leaders, we must…
Do absolutely everything in our power to actively influence and inspire
actions in others in order to win our customers’ hearts and minds.
Unfortunately, many leaders have lost their focus by living in the tactical weeds, and are ultimately placing their relevancy at risk.
“Aha” Moments and “Because” Excuses
When I challenge leaders who aren’t leading but rather spending the lion’s share of their time in the tactics, I typically encounter two reactions:
Reaction 1: The AHA Moment
Wow! Now that I’m taking a step back, I can easily identify many more ways that I can add value that I had not thought about previously, and that’s the kind of work that I really love doing! I’m looking forward to assessing and adjusting where I’m spending my time — more value-add leadership, less tactics. I get it! This is exciting! (Note to all: this is a step toward Reinvention)
Reaction 2: The Because Excuses
I hear you, but I have to do tactics X, Y and Z because:
Those leaders that experience the AHA Moments can’t wait to rethink their game plan. They quickly shed their excuse mentality, rapidly devise and execute effective delegation strategies and, within weeks, they’re take on exciting, leadership relevant work. The excuse-oriented leaders on the other hand, take longer to course correct. If you’re expecting leaders who are buried in tactics and who can’t clearly see their way out of the weeds, to miraculously change their ways overnight with little to no “hands on” coaching, intervention and accountability reviews, you’ll be grossly disappointed. The best approach is to help these leaders address and mitigate one excuse at a time, holding them accountable to excuse elimination. This method can take months vs. weeks, but if you stick with them, you’ll eventually help them shed their tactical ways and take on leadership relevant work to the benefit or the organization, themselves, their staff and their customers.
How to Delegate
Now that we’ve covered “why delegate”, let’s focus on how to delegate. While I can’t cover all possible scenarios, here are some general “getting started” tips:
Important Note: Prior to delegating, work with your Delegatees to see what’s on their plate that may need to be reprioritized. It’s not unusual however for Delegatees to readily absorb additional work. I typically find that the leaders are so buried in tactics, that they wrongfully assume that their staff is buried as well. That is not necessarily the case. The only folks who may be buried are the high achievers, so work with those folks more closely to ensure that they’re not just saying “yes” to taking on more work because they’re fearful of saying “no” plus asking you for your workload prioritization assistance.
Thought Provokers: Are you deep into the tactics and need to change your ways to increase your relevancy – or – are you managing a leader who is deep into the tactics and you need to intervene?