Photo: Uninen / Flickr, CC
People who are recently promoted into leadership positions may find it difficult to adapt to their new role because they’re now required to “do nothing.”In a supervisory role, you have to be a “big picture person” and let go of the daily grind, which can be a difficult adjustment for people who are used to completing meticulous daily tasks.
However, new leaders need to realise that “as you move up, your performance becomes less important than your team’s performance, and for your team to do better, you must do less, in ever-increasing fashion, with every promotion,” J. Keith Murninghan says in his book Do Nothing!: How to Stop Overmanaging and Become a Great Leader
“Taking over as a leader means that you must depart from the comfort of the status quo, and the anxiety, fear, and uncertainty that accompany your excitement really are noxious. To avoid these feelings, people naturally fall back on what’s familiar and certain — that is, what they know how to do. Unfortunately, this can be truly counterproductive.”
Murninghan says when you do too much, you’re not giving your team a chance to flourish because you’re ultimately taking over their jobs. Instead, you should be focusing on the growth of the company and effectively communicating it with the rest of your team.
The only time leaders should break the “do nothing” rule is under two exceptions:
1. A task needs to be completed immediately and you’re the only one with the legitimate skills. After completing this task, you should arrange for the rest of your team to receive proper training so that this situation doesn’t happen again.
2. When dirty work needs to be done. In this case, leaders shouldn’t excuse themselves, but, instead, set up a rotation so that everyone has a turn. “Dirty work” is something that no one wants to do so “loading the dirty work onto one or two people makes their job too heavy [and] it can create immediate and long-standing resentment.”
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