them to do the job (tools and training)
Letting them get on with it
If they can’t get on with it, it’s your failure because you recruited
the wrong person or failed to equip them properly in the first place.
Without actually believing your employees are animals…there is
absolutely ‘no point in buying a dog and then barking yourself’. A manager is
likely to have certain tasks which only s/he can perform – as an employee
unique within the organisation. But as a managerthey should aim for redundancy as quickly
as possible. Delegation to the lowest appropriate level is not only
resource-efficient but leads to happier, more engaged and productive employees.
What takes skill is deciding what that ‘appropriate level’ is.
Again, without believing that real people can be labelled as forms of
transport, most organisations need a mixture of (effective and efficient)
‘trains’, ‘buses’ and ‘taxis’:
are good at following procedures, and working well with systems, processes and
regulations…the railway lines. The finance and HR departments would cease to
function without some really competent trains who can move swiftly down the
tracks and will stop at each station the timetable requires.
are even more valuable because, while they are able to follow prescribed routes, they can switch and adapt in response to road works and burst water-mains and
still deliver their passengers to (or very near) their destinations in a timely
– will be the highest paid employees. Tell them where they are starting from
and where they are supposed to arrive, and they will drive off according to
their knowledge and experience, adapting to road conditions in the most
creative and flexible way.
But this is where one comes back to the original role of the manager.
If the wrong people have been recruited or they have not been equipped (with
recently serviced vehicles and coherent directions and timetables) the ‘Train’
will stop at the first leaf on the track and fail to ring the Fat Controller; the
‘Bus’ will park and sit in a café if both the primary and secondary routes are
blocked; and the ‘Taxi’ will reach the destination five hours late because s/he
slavishly followed their navigator without applying any commonsense.
The primary task of a manager is
to build their own obsolescence.
It can be simply stated… but only a fool would think it is easy to do
in practice. And if you succeed what then? That’s when you can really show leadership
by determining the strategy, setting the tone and defining the direction and
Leadership is what you’ve time
for when you’ve delegated everything else.