…because some thoughts are worth remembering
Some of the most diligent managers fall into the trap of buying back work or not delegating. The reasons they give range from “everyone’s busy” and “we are shorthanded” to “I can do it better” and “It’ll be faster for me to do it than for me to show them how to do it”.
Even when I tell them that it’s worth spending the time to show them because it’s an investment for the next time you need to perform the task. Putting out the brush fire yourself seems to win out every time over the longer term investment view.
One time, I setup my argument by acknowledging how they cared greatly about their staff, and then pointed out that it seemed contradictory, then, that they were consistently taking away opportunities for their staff’s career advancement by not sharing their responsibilities and letting them take on new tasks.
I had a little more success framing the problem this way, where the diligent managers were no longer the martyrs taking hit for the team working longer hours but the power thirsty controlling boss that didn’t have the best interest of their staff.
While there were other steps involved (e.g., showing the managers how best to mentor their staff, and delegate as opposed to dump the work), more often then not, the process cannot start without a change in our frame of mind.
Paul O’Neill, CEO of Alcoa, former Deputy Director of the Office of Management & Budget of the U.S. government said it well:
“Not sharing an opportunity to learn is a cardinal sin.”
Photo: Roman Forum in Rome, Italy