Three Neglected Skills that Sabotage Sincere Leaders
The ability for sincere leaders to sabotage themselves spoils talent.
3 neglected skills that sabotage sincere leaders:
#1. Selling all the peas.
Don’t sell all the peas, eat some.
Harvest is reward for labor. Reward gives meaning to work.
Don’t rush from one thing to the next or you’ll end up hating work. Busy is good, but you weren’t made to constantly grind.
You need unfocus time to maintain focus, be helpful, and refuel energy.
Coach Wooden said, “Be quick, but don’t hurry.”
Eat some peas:
What happens when you finish something early?
- Don’t rush to the next thing.
- Take a few breaths when you finish a task.
- Walk around the building a couple times if you get done ahead of time.
- Forward happy-customer-emails. Share the peas.
#2. Over-protecting novices.
Put the kids to work.
A three-year-old on the farm might hold the feeding bucket for a young calf. Of course, there’s supervision and it doesn’t happen every day. They’re proud of themselves. More importantly, they learn to contribute.
We operated machinery long before we had driver’s licenses.
Give stretch assignments to novices, but don’t violate child labor laws.
Recently a leader was excited that a team member volunteered to take on new responsibility. I suggested she was too slow to challenge people if her people need to volunteer.
What if people want to stretch their wings? If people are volunteering, maybe it’s time to proactively assign new responsibilities.
- When someone is 70% or 80% ready to take on a new responsibility, give it to them.
- Delegate inward-facing responsibilities to novices where learning is safe.
- Don’t delegate customer-facing responsibilities to unverified talent.
- Provide support.
#3. Circling the black hole.
Move down the road and begin again.
Which of the neglected skills above do you frequently see?
What neglected skills that sabotage sincere leaders might you add to the list?
Can you elaborate on “Circling the Black Hole?”
Thanks for asking, Heather. It’s a way to simply express a key point from yesterday’s post. https://leadershipfreak.blog/2021/03/29/how-to-never-let-anything-bother-you-again/
Basically, we spend too much time focused on what isn’t working and not enough time moving forward.
Thanks for that link!
#2. Over-protecting novices
This is a real problem in regulatory areas where you can only let people do the work when they are 100% signed off as completely competent. Problem, that…
Great point Mitch. It doesn’t make sense to let novices do an experts work. I wonder if there are some internal ways for novices to stretch their skills without crashing the plane?
One way may be to have them job shadow while the expert provides running commentary. That helps the novice learn what to do, how to do it, and (most importantly) why to do it. That makes the process seem a little less daunting, especially when you understand the thought process behind it. And also prepares the novice to better demonstrate that they are 100% competent when it comes time for the formal certification/sign off of their readiness.
Thinking about your point 2… Referring to the end of training, one if my favorite bosses said “OK, now you need to go out and bloody your nose.” The first time I heard it i though it was so strange, but it is a good methphoric reflection of the realities of the workplace, and the need to apply learning.
As Leaders we need to support the group and don’t throw the workers under the Bus.
#2 jumps out today as I see this more often, let them spread their wings but make sure the wings can support the load, especially if regulatory issues are in place as “Mitch ” mentioned. If someone volunteers absolutely let them drive the Train just be there to guide on occasions, let them know we learned by mistakes and work with them to build a future that they could enjoy..
Thanks Tim. One of the great leadership skills is balancing challenge and support. Too much challenge and people give up. Too much support and they don’t grow. Perhaps this boils down to how we respond to failure.
“… build a future they enjoy.” Love that.
Reading “When someone is 70% or 80% ready to take on a new responsibility, give it to them.” immediately made me think of my father. Dad retired as an industrial plant manager, having worked his way up from the factory floor, and this rule was his mantra in filling positions of greater responsibility. He helped develop a generation of supervisory and management personnel in his company, and I believe their success was his proudest work legacy.
Thanks Jim. It’s always useful to read an illustration of an important idea. Thanks for sharing your dad’s journey. He’s the kind of person that most of us would enjoy working for. Perhaps it’s his belief in people that lifts the spirit.