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Sin #2: The Danger of DIY

Extract from “The 3 Sins of New Leaders”:

All the little one-minute tasks that you do so well and efficiently add up. Turning a quick one-minute task into a five-minute conversation so that you can delegate it is painful, but worth it in the long run. Because you are so competent, so willing to put in the work, and so impatient with others who are not, this is going to be super difficult. It is also essential. You are going to need to flip a few scripts:

Script #1: My input determines my value.

It’s no longer about the crazy hours you work or the commitment you show. It's about the quality of the output of the team you are in charge of. That output will determine your value, so that collective output is what needs to be maxed out.

Script #2: I am judged on my performance.

It's a team game, buddy. From here on out, you are scored on how well the team is performing, regardless of your rating. That means you need to learn how to share the credit, empower others to shine, and create team momentum. It's no use if you get to the finish line and no one is with you.

Script #3: I do it better than anyone else.

Sure. But only if you surround yourself with people who make you look good by comparison. Now, if you have the emotional maturity to remain unthreatened by quality, you will surround yourself with people who are better at certain functional tasks than you are. If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re doing it wrong.

Ok, well…fine. How do we go about flipping those scripts? Here are the four actions I recommend:

  1. Do a deep dive into your motivations through the Enneagram. It will reveal why you need the affirmation that results from doing it all yourself, why it needs to be perfect, why you might not trust others to take it on, and why you resist building structures that free you up.

  2. Align with whoever hired you on what their expectations are. Clarity on outputs is essential, and a formal, results-driven scorecard will help set the tone for what you are there to do. The results, by the way, should be on a team and organizational performance level. You can be scored on your competency and abilities, sure, but results need to be for the team that you are in charge of.

  3. Cultivate a coaching mindset. I know it’s tough spending five minutes, thirty minutes, or an hour to patiently let someone else figure it out. Not being a hero; not solving the problems, but letting others grow into figuring them out? Super hard for an A-type achiever.

  4. Create a cadence of accountability. You need to check in daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly in a structured manner on the expectations and outputs of the teams. If, like me, you want to just pick up the phone and insist on an update whenever it suits you … Don't. Cadence is king, and cultivating discipline around this is critical.

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