27 September 2023

Helping others to be their best

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Amanda Setili* argues why it is always best to help team members develop their abilities rather than jumping in to transform their work yourself.

Imagine that every time you intervene to help someone on your team, you perceive that the outcome is better.

For this reason, you keep intervening. Instead of allowing someone to do a B-plus job, you intervene and transform the result into an A-plus.

Is this a good strategy?

When you view each outcome in isolation, it might be easy to argue that intervention makes sense.

However, when you step back and take the long view, constant intervention becomes a negative.

The key question isn’t whether you are better than someone else at a specific task.

The question is whether you have a strategy for ensuring that each time your team members tackle a new project, they not only get the job done but also improve their skills.

To continue the above example, if your B-plus performer evolves over a period of months into an A-minus performer — thanks to your lack of interventions — then you are strengthening your team.

What’s more you are fostering a culture that values both personal and team growth.

To say this another way, no one is instantly great at everything.

We learn, do, learn some more, try again, and keep repeating this cycle.

It’s great to offer occasional tips, but generally not advisable to constantly step in because: “I’m the best at this, so let me help.”

As the leader of a team, you are responsible for hiring and training all or most of that team.

Your role is to grow the capabilities of your team, not to do everything yourself.

Hard as it is to bite your lip and let others do the best they can, this critical discipline will make you a much more effective leader.

*Amanda Setili helps successful leaders and their teams agree on what needs to change and how to make it happen. She is author of Fearless Growth: The New Rules to Stay Competitive, Foster Innovation, and Dominate Your Markets. Amanda can be contacted at www.setili.com.

This article first appeared on Amanda’s website.

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