To have all the answers

To Have All The Answers, Or Not?

As business leaders or managers, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking it is your job to have all the answers and to feel like it is up to you to solve the biggest problems. I believe generally this happens, because it is likely for these exact reasons, you ended up in leadership position in the first place. You were a great problem solver.

Now for all you overachievers (you know who you are…and we do love you!) you will be wondering how this is a trap and why you would ever want to consider that it might be. After all, if things are getting done and your organization looks to be doing well, does it matter how it is really happening? Would anyone really care if they knew it was really just you, making it happen?

Probably most wouldn’t, but maybe YOU should.

Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, once said,” Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.”
One of the main jobs of a leader, is to build other leaders. If this were really the case then, why:

  • in small to medium sized businesses, over 83% of business owners do not believe they can leave their business for any length of time, without there being a financial impact to the business.
  • in large business, 74% of senior managers felt it impossible to be able to take all the vacation granted to them, because of their roles in the business.

These statistics tell me that most, have never really embraced the idea of leading and have fallen into the trap of performing. The problem is that when they are gone, there is no performance. They are the thumb in a dam, holding back the gallons of water. The people below had better hope the person behind that thumb, doesn’t get tired.

I believe leaders and managers put themselves in this position because of two things. One they are afraid of how it will look on them, if there were to be any sort of bump in the road. They are fearful of the impact on their reputation. The second is because they don’t like that feeling of failure. The one that comes when they try to delegate, and the person doesn’t seem to understand what is being asked of them.

Here is the reality. Leaders need to be willing to push themselves, if you ever hope to have an effective organization or business.

You have to be willing to get uncomfortable and that means confronting the these things.

It requires you to let go of this need for perfection and to find the opportunities to put your people in positions, where you know they could fail (without it being catastrophic). Leaders become leaders because they learn how to fail. There were times when you did something wrong, you might have got in trouble, but you recovered and figured it out. It is your job to encourage people to push themselves, and to succeed despite their fears and sometimes failure.

If you find frustration in directing people, recognize that this is a skill. The more you do it, the better you become at it. It can be difficult to translate what is in your head and have someone else know what to do. Recognize, you are building a language with your employees. The more shared experiences you have, the easier it is to get your message across. It just takes a bit of work.

There is great levels of satisfaction, when it comes to being a leader or manger. Especially when it comes to seeing your people and organization succeed. Push yourself to create more great leaders and you will be amazed, how it will put you at an entirely new level.