I once knew someone higher up the ladder who made it a habit of saying “I leave it to you” when assigning tasks to others. That might sound like fun, except it isn’t, especially when you haven’t a clue what resources have been given and what sort of free play you have. It doesn’t help when you’re not clear as to why you’ve been given the task in the first place.
Have you ever felt that way? Can you remember what you wished for at the time? Now, take a moment to reflect. Are you doing the same thing to people you are responsible for? Think. Has it ever occurred to you that they might not like the situation very much, but don’t know how to approach you to resolve their questions?
Sure, give free rein to your people. Encourage initiative. Encourage creativity by all means. Just make sure that you, the leader, have set up the conditions for them to be eminently successful. Only then can you say “I leave it to you” with a beatific smile, knowing full well that they cannot but succeed. Of course, as they grow, give them tasks for which they will need to find their own resources, and watch them mature. Then, when things get rough in the business environment, you won’t even have to say “I leave it to you.” They will come to you and say “You can leave it to us.” And you will, of course.
One more aspect you need to look into. You might have created the most ideal conditions and given your people the best tools to work with. Remember that one of your most basic and essential tasks is also to grow them as people. How much time do you spend investing in your staff? As a minimum, how much time do you spend grooming, training and coaching the senior leadership team that reports to you? Sure, you try to hire people smarter than you are, but you still need to make the final decisions. Not only that, how many people do you know who happen to be great at more than two things? Yes, I thought so, too. Technically great, implementing-impaired. Set them straight. Then you can have the luxury of saying “I leave it to you” much more often!
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