Leadership is about displaying the best practices in front of your employees at all times. Unfortunately, one bad habit can ruin all of those efforts. For instance, when your employees let you down, you might be tempted to just do the job for them. But your good intentions of helping the team can lead to long-term problems. To be a better leader, you need to learn how to give your employees the opportunity to succeed without you doing the work for them.
Why Does It Happen?
Organizations and leaders are judged based on results; customer and clients just want it to work. So, in the midst of a project, it is very tempting to do whatever it takes to achieve success. You can’t make excuses for why something isn’t getting done, especially if the reason is that your employees didn’t live up to expectations. So you do what it takes, and you repeat that process without making the necessary adjustments because the priority is the end product, not the process.
What Can You Do?
Becoming a better leader means taking action. You need to delegate effectively, although doing it right can take time. But better delegation will let you provide better service with half the stress. Here is what you need to do:
- Take time for employees to set goals. Helping your employee take ownership of their work motivates them to do better. It also motivates them to better monitor their own performance and self adjust when their work is not going well.
- Improve (or create) a feedback loop. Your employees can’t improve if they don’t know what they are doing wrong. Every few weeks or so, check in with your employees. A few moments can allow you to pass on some tips and encouragement that could yield big gains in your teams’ performance.
- Recognize your employees for good work. You have to balance the criticisms with recognition for good work. Not only does providing public, positive feedback ensure that your employees hear you when you talk about how they can improve, it demonstrates what good habits are to the rest of the staff.
There are short-term benefits to doing whatever it takes and protecting your employees; you get the job done and happy clients. But the long-term costs can be massive. Your employees don’t improve because you don’t inform them about what they are doing wrong. They can’t take the steps necessary to get better. Also, there is a big emotional cost to you. The more you have to cover for your employees, the more you might resent them. This can lead to significant stress to you, which could affect your health. It also increases the possibility that you might “explode” after the stress becomes too much. This will make you appear irrational, create a less than optimal work environment and just make it that much more difficult to provide a quality product.
To be a better leader, you need to learn how to delegate effectively. Take the right steps, and you will have better products and less stress.