Last month when working with a senior executive, let’s call her Alex, I blurted out the heading of this blog “Lose the need to add value”. Alex was stunned and just stared at me and said, “Can you say that again?”
Let me put this in context, this executive, has a team of 12 direct reports who phone and email her non-stop and when she is in the office are usually queuing up at her door, and that’s what I have observed, and I am only in their office every 6 weeks! They ask her for advice, to make a decision for them and sometimes when I meet with Alex she will receive at least 6 missed calls.
Alex is the all giving manager who has moved through the ranks and simply wants to help. She wants to give to her team, and for that, I commend her but only to a certain point.
People who have high strengths in relationship building I have seen to be the ones who sometimes over collaborate or in other words do “relationship” building in overdrive. It’s important to establish and maintain productive and meaningful relationships as this feeds personal satisfaction and helps goals to be achieved, but there is a cut-off point.
In Alex’s case, this is to her detriment as she is over giving and has created a culture of “Let’s call Alex”. As a leader of leaders, Alex needs to step back and drive behaviours that will allow others to feel empowered and take ownership.
As a leader, you are not unlike a conductor in an orchestra. Your job is to guide, challenge, nurture and empower and not to be playing any of the actual instruments.
Alex and I worked through simple ways to “lose the need to add value” and instead foster a team that sees you as a guide, therefore adding real value that counts.
Coaching is a brilliant way to get others to think for themselves.
The best leaders I know are seen as a coaching resource not an endless pit of answers, ideas and responses.
Add value when it is needed but “add” value don’t just give it away. Don’t feel like you need to justify your position or share everything you know at all times. The more others think for themselves and own their decisions, the less likely they will come to you, therefore, thinking for themselves and consulting with their peers. This gives you, the leader, more time to focus on what really matters.