Teach Your People to Fish

For some managers the result is all that is important … but results at any cost are usually not sustainable, and sustainable is important too.  There are also the issues of corporate culture, ethics, processes etc that can easily be compromised when the only concern is the result!  You might not want your staff “fishing with dynamite”!

As the old saying goes, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”

In order to be an effective manager, you need to resist the urge to “do it yourself” … remember teach, don’t do! You need to resist the urge to force your staff to do it exactly the way you would do it, because we all have our own style.

You need to establish guidelines and parameters.  These might be financial constraints (eg margin guidelines), ethical boundaries (eg don’t take your client to Scotland for a golf trip) and/or targets (eg number of calls, sales pipeline metrics etc).

You need to give your staff some rope … which can get longer as your trust grows! You need to expect some hiccups, and deal with them accordingly … as learning exercises, not as a means to beat your staff up!

Eventually you will become less involved and able to devote time elsewhere … just don’t forget to stay close enough that you understand when things go off the rails.

Giving up control is one of the hardest things for any manager.  You were probably promoted because you were good at “doing something” … now you have to learn to be good at teaching other people to have the same success, and not do it yourself!

Summing-up: Teach your people to fish. Give them the knowledge and skills. Empower them and make happy, fulfilled, and loyal members of your tem.

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