How to be an even better leader!!
there was a time when I believed that to be a good leader, I needed to do everything my self. The purpose of this seemed to be that I needed to show everyone that I was the only one who could do the job properly.
This was alright when I only had one or two others there but then we started to expand, up till now I had managed doing all the important work but as the work increased, there was no way I could continue to do everything.
Fortunately for me I had a mentor/coach type person who initially had challenged me whilst refereeing First division soccer in my home area. He pointed out that I had two line referees who were as qualified as I was and that they were there to share the load and as long as I instructed them as to what I specifically wanted them to observe then the next move was to trust them.
I was interested in what I would do if they got it wrong so I asked and was asked, “Had I ever got it wrong during the time I was doing it all?” Unfortunately I had to admit that I had but noted i observed my mistake, fixed it up and then moved on.
They asked me, “could I do that with my staff?” After I thought about it, I realised that it was not much different to refereeing. They challenged me to give it a go, baby steps first.
We worked out a system so the first person I chose would know firstly what was required of them and secondly would know that there would be no interference from me till a set time later, however they could come to me with questions at any time.
So off we went. They had the task explained and I asked if they were comfortable with it, they were happy with the task, I also mentioned that we would have a meeting in five days time to check progress.
The hardest part was leaving them alone without checking on them. There was this horrible feeling that I wanted them to fail so I would feel absolutely necessary. If this worked then I was on my way to being redundant.
Then it began to dawn. If other people could do, in a perfectly satisfactory way, all the things I thought that only I could do Then I was free to do the other stuff that I never seemed able to find the time to do.
I have actually delegated a task and the person to whom I delegated it has done the task as well as I would have.
The person I had delegated the task to caught up with me a few days later and thanked me very much. They were contemplating leaving to go elsewhere, where their skills would be better utilised but because of what I had done they were now going to stay.
I asked what made the difference. Their response was that up to this event they had felt completely dis-empowered. Unable to do anything, even though they knew what to do. Now they felt totally empowered, able to share in the forward progress of the business without feeling like a child, waiting to be told.
We now have regular meetings where all the tasks are laid out and staff are asked if they have any preferences, before we actually delegate them out to them. We also check on progress of the various tasks and others are asked if they have any input into the processes.
I now spend most of my time looking for new opportunities for work and following up ideas that are brought as a better way to go.
My stress levels are great and I am part of a very happy and highly productive team, who own their roles in a very committed way. Thanks to a fellow referee who helped me see things differently.