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Put me in coach

Growth as a leader

Many leaders I coach are being groomed for the next level. Some have recently been promoted and feel over their heads. Other leaders intently watch and wait for their big break because they have been ready for a while.

What they are working on as leaders may differ, but what they have in common is that they must develop their people. This is so that they can delegate more to them.

Overcoming obstacles

Most often leaders have trouble with this logic: “I should develop my people so that they can take on more work. At this point I can trust them more or I can get them ready for the next level. I do this so that I work myself out of my current role.” It’s not troubling if you realize that is your job.

This can be troublesome for the following reasons:

  1. Leaders don’t even have their arms, or for that matter, their heads around the job themselves yet

  2. They don’t know what to delegate

  3. They may not know how to delegate effectively

  4. Their people are at varying levels of readiness to take on more projects

  5. Most don’t trust their people

  6. They fear that if their people know more than they do about a particular topic, that they will look weak

  7. A leader may wonder what’s left for them to do after they delegate work to their people

  8. They are unclear about their evolving role

  9. Their bosses tell them to be strategic, yet they don’t know what that means exactly

Giving responsibility

Let’s start with your top two issues holding you back from being ready, and chip away at them. Usually the manager does not delegate because they feel their subordinates can’t perform the task as well as they can. It’s time to discuss with that person what you want them to get better at, why, and what’s in it for them. In addition, as you give them small bits of work, set your expectations clearly, agree when you will talk about the work, but clearly give them responsibility to own that piece of the project. Soon you will be giving those entire projects, not just pieces or tasks.

Realize what your role is as a leader

The other most common reason I see is they are unclear what they are to do if they delegate important projects down a level. If it is not obvious to you now, realize your job is to think, strategize, and connect with others across the business. Build relationships, and collaborate at your level with your peers and stakeholders. The more you do this, the greater value you bring and the more meaningful your job will become, for the issues will be higher level and your perspective will broaden.

You will know you are ready to be put in, or get promoted, when you look around and have been thinking strategically for quite some time, you are solving bigger, cross functional issues, you are well known in your organization, you add clear value as a leader, and you have earned the reputation as a great people developer. So, ask your coach to “put you in.”


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