We’re Only Human...

In the most recent LinkedIn article I published called If You Want It Done Right…, I shared a comment I heard John Maxwell make recently, “A leader who empowers their team isn’t someone who believes they have to do it all themselves for it to be done right.” While that’s not necessarily as easy as it may sound, it’s absolutely something we have to begin doing at some point if we have any hope at all of moving beyond that busy-ness we’ve kicked around over the last several messages to a place where we’re building a team that accomplishes what it’s really capable of!

I closed the last blog by challenging you to really think into how much it really matters when someone on our team makes certain mistakes. If it’s a true life or death scenario, we may need to stay in complete control of the situation. But let’s be brutally honest, those are few and far between! There are far more situations where a mistake here and there that comes through the learning process won’t even make a dent in the final product the customer receives, and it may actually provide our team member with a huge opportunity to get better in the process…

And that’s really the first step we need to be able to take in empowering the folks on our teams! Allow them to do what they can do, and allow them to have room to make some mistakes along the way…

The next step is equally important in empowering our team, but it often triggers some immediate concern! We need to be willing to invest in the people around us so they have the tools they need to perform to the level they’re capable of. That investment can take any number of forms or fashions but before we even bother looking at any of those, let’s address what I’ve found to be the number reason any business owner or executive is hesitant to do it…

More than anything else, I’ve heard managers and business owners say “but what if I spend the money to train them and they end up accepting another position somewhere else? I don’t want to train someone for a job with another company…”

First and foremost, we’re only human! We can only do so much ourselves on any given day. If we’re going to grow our organizations by providing new services or taking care of new customers and clients, there’s just no way we can continue doing everything by ourselves. Believe me, this applies just as much for me as it does for anyone who ever reads it; and I can make all kinds of excuses for why I need to be the one who does this or that… Again, we’re only human so we’re all limited in what we can accomplish alone! The only way I’ve found to have time to do more things has been to buy someone else’s time to do some of the things it no longer makes sense for me to do. While those things will be different for each of us, the point is not...

The next challenge I’ve seen with the concern of losing someone we’ve invested in is the assumption that once we’ve trained them, they will be too good or too valuable to hang onto them. Gosh, that’s exactly why we’d ever consider training them isn’t it? To increase their value to our team… And if they’re more valuable, aren’t we going to compensate them appropriately? (If that answer is NO then can you really blame them for jumping ship?) 

The final challenge I’ll touch on in this message is something I’ve seen far too often, and it’s really fairly easy to overcome! In many cases, developing team members is viewed as a cost to the business rather than an investment that produces a tangible, quantifiable return for the organization. Depending on the type of training or development, the return may look different. But it should ALWAYS be there and it should always be measurable! The most practical way I’ve found for achieving this is placing the responsibility for defining measurable results squarely in the hands of the person who’s being trained. When they have that, and they’re given the opportunity to apply what they’re learning, they take ownership for their action steps. That said, this requires holding them accountable for producing results - but aren’t they already being held accountable for producing some sort of result? We’ve built this approach into every single lesson of our Emerging Leader Development course and our entire Leading At The Next Level program...

In that same recent lesson, John Maxwell said that “not investing in your team is short-cutting yourself as a leader.” How true!!! We’ll dig a bit deeper into this in the next blog. For now though, I’ll challenge you to identify one thing that you’re currently doing that you could empower someone on your team to do so you have more time to do the things that only you can do. We all need to do this! After all, we’re only human...

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