I Thought I Was Leading But…

I was just a knight in shiny armor.

Here’s the story.

A few years ago, the leadership of the regional markets I was responsible for asked me to reflect the effect of favorable demographics in our product pricing. Instead of teaching my team how to do it, I ended created a simple tool to help them create the adjustments.

In my mind, I was saving the team the hassle of having to create these adjustments so they could focus on what they had to do. At the same time, I also took it upon myself to facilitate the financial forecast conversations so I could save them from wasting time in meetings. Again, I felt I was helping the team and protecting them from needless stress.

I was wrong.

When the time came for the team to explain the development of the adjustments and financial projections, they had to come to me for answers. I not only made it possible for no one to review what I was doing, I also prevented the team from learning how to do it.

In the end, I was just an individual contributor not the leader.

Today’s Lesson
The more I grow in leadership, the more I realize leaders don’t solve problems; leaders use the power of questions to guide others to solve their own problems. Leaders set a vision, give perspective, and seek to understand.

How many of the tasks you have done in the last month could you have taught someone else to do instead of doing them yourself?

As leaders we must remember every time we spend doing projects and tasks, is time not spent thinking about strategy, building the culture, and developing people.

If the team can’t thrive in the leader’s absence, there was no leading.

 

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