This is an exceptional post by Dan Rockwell.
Individual contributors have impact by getting things done. Leaders have exponential impact by getting things done through others. But, it often feels easier to do it yourself.
Five reasons it’s easier to do it yourself:
- Quality. It’s done the way you want it to be done.
- No relational component.
- No communication confusion.
Three real reasons to do it yourself:
- You plan to keep doing it.
- It’s once and done. It really is quicker.
- You have unique technical skills. No one else is equipped.
When others should but can’t: The work of leaders is the work of others. The first work of leaders is developing the team. It may be easier to do it yourself, but in the end you short-circuit exponential impact.
Develop the team or you’ll do it yourself.
The door to developing others swings on modelling. Humbly live it yourself or shut up and go home.
Don’t neglect the behaviours you expect from others. Arrogant self-exemption closes hearts and minds, but, modelling enhances influence.
After modelling, teach others to combine strengths with contrasting qualities.
Navigate tension between:
- Decisiveness and listening.
- Focus and flexibility.
- Tenacity and kindness.
- Vision and openness.
- Kindness and candor.
- Passion and quietness.
- Analysis and initiative.
- Planning and people.
- Solitude and relationships.
- High expectations and helpfulness.
Listening frustrates decisive leaders. What’s the point of talking when decisions have been made. Teach decisive leaders to slow down and ask questions that explore purpose, align people, and weigh options.
The more important the decision, the more necessary inclusive listening becomes. But, weighty decisions often drive decisive leaders to make choices in isolation.
Listening is the pursuit of excellence not leading by consensus.
Last word: Leaders who don’t develop the team end up doing it themselves.
How do you help others deal with tensions between corresponding qualities? What others tensions can you add?