The adage, “If you want something done, do it yourself”, does not apply to leadership. Leaders don’t “do it themselves”. They lead others to do it, whatever “it” is.
If you oversee a team and you are doing your subordinates’ jobs, who is doing your job of leading the team? The answer is no one. If you are doing the job of the people you have been given the privilege to lead, the only thing you are leading is your team to failure.
Whose fault is it that a deadline is about to be missed? The leader’s fault. If, as the leader, you finish “it” by yourself you are not saving the day. You are not impressing anyone. In fact, you are likely being lazy and driven by ego. It’s hard work to ensure your team is properly planning for success. It’s hard work to ensure you, as the leader, know the plan and are holding the team accountable for the successful execution of the plan. It’s hard work to ensure your people are properly trained so they can execute their duties. It takes an ego that is fully in check to allow individuals to operate with initiative and ensure the team gets full credit for the success of a project.
Sure, occasionally, you may have to jump in and get your hands dirty. If you’re jumping in because “it” won’t get done if you don’t then go ahead and do “it” …and then demote yourself. Your team needs a leader. Make a plan, assign roles and deadlines, account for contingencies, communicate, keep accountability, let your people act with initiative; in other words…LEAD.
Errol Doebler is the founder of Ice Cold Leader, a leadership consulting firm. After successful careers as a Navy SEAL Platoon Commander and FBI Special Agent, Errol founded Ice Cold Leader to realize his passion of teaching leadership and helping individuals and businesses improve exponentially. Errol provides executive coaching and leadership training to individuals and teams across the United States.
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