Stop “Teaming,” Lead Instead

We all want to be a manager that our team respects.

Stop “Teaming,” Lead Instead

Insight from Joshua Schultz

We all want to be a manager that our team respects.

New managers often think that the way to earn that respect is by being the one that is willing to hop in and get hands dirty whenever.

You delegate a task to your favorite direct report, and things are moving slowly or hitting roadblocks.

The instinct is to take the reins and contribute directly.

You open Excel and build a large portion of the model. You spend an hour or two adding to the deck.

Don't get me wrong, we all have to help push.

But "teaming" vs. leading has its downsides.

  • It misaligns expectations around who really owns what tasks.

  • It confuses responsibilities and gives the dangerous impression that, if someone doesn't handle a task to completion, someone else will pick up the slack.

  • It consumes time that could be better spent on the higher-level tasks that you're actually responsible for in a manager role.

The real mark of an effective manager is the ability to scale output across a team and organization. They build and optimize systems that get the best out of their people.

With that goal in mind, "teaming" is entirely counterproductive.

In reality, the most effective way to earn your team's respect is by empowering them to take ownership over their tasks rather than taking work out of their hands.

It may seem like you're "taking one for the team," but you're actually avoiding the more challenging but important work of leading your team.

Next time you get the urge to jump in and take over a task, try leading instead.

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