Intuitively, the picture resonates. We’ve all had the petty-tyrant boss; the person who loves the sound of their own voice and is oblivious to the resentment and de-motivation they’re engendering.
And most of us can relate to the manager who loves to roll up his sleeves and jump in on the line.
But don’t be fooled. There’s a problem with the scenario that this image paints, especially when it comes to larger teams with significant division of labour:
You can’t fly at 40,000 feet and be on the tarmac at the same time.
If you as the organizational leader are always “hands-on”, who’s doing your job? To belabor the cheap analogies; if the captain is always in the engine room, the ship’s going to run aground.
Don’t “lord it” over your team. Challenge them, but don’t be a slave-driver. Be nice, respectful, sincere, and above all, just. But recognize that their job is not yours. They need to be accountable for their role, just as you need to be accountable for yours.
In a pinch, get in the trenches and dig. But if you need to do that regularly, you’re not doing your job properly; you’re just a very overpaid member of the team.
When it comes to that bromide about being “Hands On”, here’s the rule to follow:
Be hands-on as much as necessary, but as little as possible.
And over time, given that a part of your job as “boss” is to develop your reports, you should be hands-on less and less. That will be easier if you master the art of delegation.
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Apologies for all the links, hope they weren’t distracting and that you find some of the material useful.
Questions or comments – feel free.