Here’s a story of frustration I’ve been hearing variations on lately:
Can you relate? Have you ever felt that frustration when you keep telling someone what you want and they just can’t get there?
Which of the following is your go-to solution in these situations?
- Do it yourself. It’s the only way if you want it done right.
- Put it on hold, officially or unofficially. Plan to deal with it later.
- Give it up entirely.
- Fire or take the employee/vendor (kid) off the project and get someone else to do it. (And someone else. And someone else.)
- Yell a lot.
A better question: What would happen if instead of getting frustrated with your _______employee/vendor (kid), you took the responsibility for their not knowing how to meet your needs? What might you do differently?
Here’s the Leadership Incorporated approach: Get engaged in the process. Show them how you want it done. Let them do the work while you give supportive feedback. Coach them through it step by step.
My brilliant manufacturing client does just this. And while other divisions in his company are spending all their time trying to figure out why they have such high failure rates, his team is just getting the job done.
But won’t that take me more precious time than just doing it myself?
You already know how shortsighted that objection is! The logical answer is yes, it takes more time the first time, but it will save time in the long run. Right?
It actually doesn’t take more time at all. Because in truth your project isn’t moving forward, your needs aren’t getting met and it’s taking tons of time! Watch the trap of comparing the time it takes to lead-by-coaching with an idyllic fantasy of mind-reading vendors and staff (and kids) that by definition doesn’t currently exist. It takes far less time to get into the solution than to stay in frustration and blame.
True leadership means taking full responsibility for producing the desired outcome. Keep in mind that your desired outcome is NOT that you do it all.
When you spend the time to be a true leader you’ll end up with people who know what you want and how to get there — and you’ll have greater confidence in their ability to deliver.