Get Out Of The Weeds Or You May Get Wacked

I was surfing for some information the other night. I found what I was looking for in about 3 minutes. One hour later I was reading some article on training porpoises. How I got there I don’t know!… Actually I do. Threads from the first article kept leading me to other interesting articles until I landed on porpoises.

I recall similar experiences at work. It happened when I got involved in reviewing marketing and sales programs with my staff. Before I knew it I was right into the middle of designing the program…maybe even writing copy! It was more interesting and fun than dealing with some employee performance issue or customer complaint.

Ever Have This Happen To You?

Most executives I work with in my coaching business have some areas in which they invariably get caught up in the details of a situation rather than providing leadership. They take on responsibility for a task that really belongs to one of their people. It’s easy to get caught in the weeds. We all do it from time to time. When you are not providing the right level of leadership to your organization or you are doing some one’s role, you are not leading at your level. You know it. They know it. Others see it.

Whatever the reason, it is diminishing your value as an executive. It is robbing one of your people of the opportunity to learn and grow. It is adding to your workload.

You are shirking your duty. You are wasting your energy and intelligence that could be better utilized leading the organization to become more effective, more efficient and more successful…making it a high performing model.

It may be detrimental to your career.

3 Quick Tips For Leading at Your Level

  1. Write down the critical deliverable’s of your role. In a perfect world, where should you be spending your energies? A good place to start is your objectives. As a leader what is the true business value you bring to the organization in terms of its top line and bottom line? What is it that only you can do in your position that will make this team great?

    Examples are: setting vision and strategy; removing road blocks; creating a winning team culture; developing your people; motivating; staffing with the right talent; dealing with non performers.

  2. Be aware of the types of tasks, issues or opportunities that typically draw you into the details and pull you into the weeds. Think of past times when this happened. Just being aware will cause you to recognize when they arise. At first you may only notice when you are already involved. However over time you will immediately recognize the situation and take alternative actions. Be particularly vigilant in meetings in which you may dominate the discussion and drag it into the details rather than identify the deliverable and assign responsibility and accountability.
  3. Think about these situations as professional development opportunities for your employees. It will also enhance and strengthen your leadership. And free up your time to work on moving your team forward.

What Causes You To Get Bogged In The Weeds? Be Honest With Yourself.

      I have a natural ability in that area. It’s my expertise.
      So why not create other experts?
      Time is short. It’s critical. It won’t take long. I’ll just get it done.
      And what about the next time…and the next time…and the time after that?
      This is too important. I don’t trust him to do it right.
      Is there a competence issue here that you are ignoring or not acting on?
      It makes me feel good to show my expertise.
      What ego?
      She’s overloaded. I’ll just do it.
      Is this a professional development issue, resources issue or competency issue?
      I enjoy it!
      Then give up your real job.

By taking on others’ tasks or getting wrapped up in the details, what is the cost in terms of your personal productivity, leadership growth, and lost contribution to the organization?

Lead at your level.