So let’s start with the how not to lead.
In order for your people to follow you they will need to trust you. Trust is a two-way street so if you’re wondering how NOT to lead the first step is to demonstrate that you absolutely do not, under any circumstances, trust your people. They will find it impossible to trust you when it’s obvious you don’t trust them. You will be responsible for turning their work situation into a nightmare. You can bet your last dollar they will do likewise for you.
To demonstrate that you do not trust them you’ll want to first convince yourself that no one can do as good a job as you. That will be second nature for too many people in leadership positions but some people will only be convinced of that the first time one of their people makes a mistake.
Once you’re certain that you do pretty much everything better than anyone else you can move up to delegating tasks to the people likely to screw them up. Be sure to delegate only crap jobs that you don’t like to do. There’s no sense in delegating a task because it may help them grow as team members or people in general.
Once you’ve assigned them a task be certain to manage every single step in the process required to complete the task. Constant nonstop micro-managing will ensure even your worst team members will turn in good results. As “everyone” knows, people love to be micro-managed so manage the heck out of everything and everyone.
This method of “leading” will also help eliminate questions in the future. Rather than attempting to accomplish anything on their own and needing a question answered along the way, your people will simply wait and do nothing. That should make for far fewer messes for you to clean up.
Plus, if you were ever “charged” in a court of law with being a leader there would be absolutely no evidence to convict you.
But let’s assume for a minute that you’re reading this blog because you actually do want to lead more effectively.
Let’s see what that would look like.
First, remind yourself that you don’t know it all. Remind yourself that there may be more than one way to accomplish the same task. Remind yourself that your way may in fact not be the best way. Once you become an experienced Authentic Leader you won’t have to remind yourself of these things anymore. They will have been proven to you again and again.
Then you can delegate whatever tasks you think will help your people grow. It may be that you’re sure they can handle it or it may be something that will “stretch” the limits of their comfort zones. Either way the goal should be to meet the required objective while helping people grow. It might be easier if you did the job yourself but you know that Authentic Leaders take a longer term view of people development. They realize that the time they use to help people learn a new job or task is an investment, not an expense.
Now you can turn them lose and give them the autonomy that demonstrates you trust them. You can offer them support, some training or other assistance when required. But if they don’t ask for assistance then allow them to do their thing. If you’ve followed a well defined delegation process they will be fine. You will be fine. Even if they accomplished the task in a different fashion than you would have. If the task was completed ethically, on time, within the budgetary guidelines and the objective was met then your leadership efforts have been successful.
If for some reason the task wasn’t completed as required then you have the opportunity for additional coaching to improve their results next time. Before you do any coaching you need to determine where the delegation went off the rails. Was it something your team member did or didn’t do? Perhaps it was some detail you forgot to discuss with them? Authentic Leaders never assume the fault is the responsibility of the people they lead. They look first at themselves to determine if and how they might improve as well.
So there you have it. Are you more on the leading side or the not so much side? If you’re on the “not” side then you have some work to do…but only if you truly want to lead.