The best leaders realize they shouldn’t have to do everything they ask others to do. #QuoteADay #Day358 #edchat #edu #satchat #NYedchat
I’ve been reading a book by Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey called Immunity to Change. In it, the authors describe how they’ve worked with a variety of leaders and learners to overcome their own natural immunity to the change process. It isn’t so much that change is hard, but rather that our own bodies and minds are hardwired against it.
In reading one of the segments chronicling how a leader learned to deal with necessary change, I was struck by a comment made and how true it was (and how I often would tell others the opposite).
I used to say to those I worked with, “I would never ask you to take this on if I couldn’t do it myself,” or “I wouldn’t encourage you to explore something that I myself am uncomfortable with.”
This seemed to be an appropriate comment, right? After all, it was meant to show that I wouldn’t ask others to do things that I didn’t vet first.
But, I believe I was wrong.
The way I now see it, the comment actually discourages delegation and the handing over of the leadership reigns. Instead, it makes it sound as if every decision and step to take can only be along pathways that I would go down, and if creative thinking is contained by only what is comfortable to me, then I’ve failed those I’m being asked to serve.
A better way to put it would be, “I want you to explore those areas that best utilize your unique skill set. I’m here to help you identify how you can do that.”
I know that I can’t do everything, much as I might want to. And, for those things I can do, I fully understand that others can likely do them better.
To help focus others on what they can do best, build up their capacity to do what is currently a weakness, and use my skills as a leader to encourage others to push themselves further and therefore help us further innovate.
The moment we’re able to stop worrying about being the end all is the minute where as a collective group we can do all.
I’m not there, but I’m working on it. Where are you?