Captains win games with their team
“I alone can fix it” is a statement often uttered by some of business leaders. We know that’s not true. Can you imagine a situation when everyone can sit back and relax while one person does all the work and single-handedly spearheads change and success?
Many executives from vastly diverse companies have fallen victim to this false idea of good leadership. But there’s one trait that sets the best leaders apart from others, no matter how smart, driven and visionary they may be, and it’s that they see the path to success as a group effort rather than a personal one. More important, they recognize when they need help and aren’t afraid to ask for it.
Leaders, who tend to try to do everything alone, take on extra work their staff is capable of doing, only to make mistakes because they find themselves juggling too many things at once — and then they miss deadlines. As a result, stress levels run high and quality suffers. That hands-on approach becomes a dangerous pattern that could alienate the entire team and even jeopardize the business.
It is no surprise that these types of leaders have terrible employee retention rates. One of the main reasons talent quits is due to leadership, or lack thereof. By micro-managing or taking everything on themselves, the executive creates a broken environment in which employees feel stunted and undervalued. And for any company to reach their next level, it’s imperative that the person in charge leads the vision, not the projects.
Neither good decisions nor effective communication can happen when employees are constantly buried in work. Such situations aren’t just a result of bad management in one area, but a common thread across all professional levels and departments. Whether they’re an intern or an executive, these types think that taking on more work is heroic, and then feel ashamed if they can’t finish it all in a day.
It’s time for a self check-in. Do you have a hard time trusting employees? Do you feel bad when you assign people work? Do you prefer to work alone than collaboratively? If you’ve answered yes to at least one of these, then the real problem stems from within. Remember that captains don’t win games alone; they need the support and talent of other players. So why are you any different?
The essence of leadership is offering guidance, support and inspiration. By not delegating, you place a heavy burden on yourself. Whether you’re a CEO, entrepreneur or manager, you need to break this habit immediately. This behaviour will not only hurt you, it will stunt your team’s growth; it will prevent them reaching their full potential, but even at a basic level, from figuring out answers on their own. They’ll have little motivation to do the work if they know you’ll do it. Plus, you spend countless hours not doing what you’re supposed to be doing, which is building relationships and strategizing company goals.
Simply put, back off. Let employees do their jobs. Mistakes are bound to happen, and it will be then that real leadership will come to the fore. Sure, maybe you wouldn’t have made the same slipup, but you’ll be there to offer the support and guidance your team needs to keep learning and developing.
Leaving tasks that were once under your control can be very difficult, whether you climbed your way to the top of the executive ladder or built the business from the ground up. But the benefits of doing so far outweigh the initial anxiety. When you ask for their help, you show your staff that you trust them. You free up your time, which can be used to strengthen the company, both financially and internally, and you let go of the stress that comes with feeling overwhelmed.
Asking for help is a sign of strength, not of weakness. Good leaders live by this.