At just aged six, my son is already learning to be independent. He washes and dresses himself he could run his own bath get his own drinks, breakfast and little things like that. At the weekend I took in him for his swimming lesson, and afterwards I told him to have a shower which he did, and then handed him his towel and told him to get dried and dressed, which he did with no assistance from me.
I happened to notice that very many children who were clearly two or three years older than him were being washed, dried and dressed by their mothers. I wondered why this was. Is it that the children aren’t capable? Is it that the mothers find it quicker and easier to do it for them? Or is it that they don’t want their kids to grow up so that they still feel needed?
In my professional life, I’m lucky to go into lots of diverse organisations to research and design management training programs. One of the most common problems I come across is managers who aren’t managing… They are doing instead. It made me wonder if the root cause of both these situations is the same.
Many new managers like to feel needed by their team, and may feel they have to earn the respect of their team. Often they do this by solving problems for team members rather than asking them to sort things out themselves. Other times new managers feel that it’s quicker and easier to do things for themselves. Another reason is the new managers want to be seen to be pulling their weight and doing just as much if not more work than the other members in the team.
Ultimately however it’s not just about you. Whether you are a mum or a manager, the best managers (and parents) are those who can be absent and be confident that everything is going to be okay. That is why I am actively encouraging my children to take responsibility for themselves. Ultimately I’m doing them no favours if I continue to do everything for them, and the same is true for managers.
Managers who are indispensable are also unpromotable. Team members who aren’t allowed to ‘grow up’ will ultimately either rebel, leave or become a burden that the manager has to carry indefinitely. So learn to delegate give responsibility and accountability to people. Providing coaching and other support but remember that in the end, they need to do things for themselves.
If you feel that your new managers would benefit from some first-line management development, give us a call for a no obligation chat.