Thursday, November 4, 2010

Let Them Do Their Job

If you’re 25 year old son was taking his girlfriend out on a date this weekend, would there be anything odd about you driving the two of them around on their date?  Sure, your son has his driver’s license, but you have much more experience driving than he does.  Plus, you know the best route to take to avoid traffic.  On top of it all, you really are comfortable driving and don’t mind doing it.  Would this still seem odd to you?
Of course it would!  Your son will never learn how to drive on his own if he does not have the opportunity to do it.  He may make a mistake…but that’s how we all learn.  It’s scary to let go but we, as parents, must do it for our children to grow, mature and gain the experience they need to carry them through life.  What’s more, if a parent cannot let go, the child grows to resent it because it is very embarrassing to have your parents drive you around on a date in front of your friends.
The same is true of your workers and the jobs they hold at your company.  As young supervisors or managers, they do not have the level of experience you may have.  You may be able to avoid common pitfalls and steer their work to a more successful conclusion.  You may even like making decisions at all levels.  However, if you step in and make decisions and do their job for them, they will never learn to stand on their own.  They will never mature, grow and develop their skills if you never allow them to walk on their own.  They will grow to resent it because your interference into their job makes them look impotent in front of their peers and subordinates.   
Resist the natural urge to “help” too much. This is called micromanaging. Employees take ownership of a company when they are allowed to think through problems, make decisions, learn from their mistakes and grow from the process. Don’t rob them of their chance to grow.