One of the many challenges leaders face is deciding what to focus on to ensure their organizations continue to be successful. As simple as that may sound, it's much easier to say than to do. When numerous issues, project changes, and new initiatives are placed before you - a leader - each day, it's a constant judgment call as to which ones are worthy of your time, consideration, and input - and which are better left to your team members. However, effective leaders and managers make the call right more often than not. Ineffective ones don't.
So how do you determine if an action is right for you to focus on and which are better left to your team? As you consider the issues, project changes, and new initiatives placed before you, ask yourself:
- Is this something I, as the leader, should be involved with, or is this something that should and could be handled by someone else?
- Will this issue move us towards our vision? If not, let's forget it. If so, what does the team need from me to keep us focused as we work through this?
- How will this affect the organization - and the team members - in the short-term, mid-term, and long-term? Will my decision be good for the organization now and into the future, or where and when will negative impacts be felt?
- Is this the best use of my time given my understanding of the organization, industry, finances, etc or is this better handled (or learned to be handled) by a team member?
- How does this new initiative fit into my position title, description and responsibilities?
- If I get involved, will I be accused of micromanaging, meddling, or otherwise "butting in" and taking over projects that are best managed at the team or department level?
- Am I confusing my "jumping in to get the work done" with allowing others to do the work their own way - as long as the agreed upon objectives are met?
- Have I spent sufficient time talking about and developing the missing skills in my staff and team members to ensure they are fully-capable of fulfilling their job and project management responsibilities?
- Have I spent sufficient time speaking in person with my staff and team members when their job and project management responsibilities start to slide?
- Would I want to be led by someone who leads the way I do on this project?
The desired answers to the questions posed are fairly apparent. However, as leaders, we all slip from time to time and focus our energies and actions on things best left to our team members. But, if we don't give our team members guidance and the opportunities to learn, they never will. So the next time you're confronted with a "leadership" issue, proposed project change, or new initiative, ask yourself a question or two to determine if this is where you should be focusing your time and energy. If so, lead with focus. If not, let your team go to work.
Copyright MMIX - Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com +1.717.597.8890
Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching.