The best thing that has happened to me during my short time as a leader
It’s been a short and long few years in leadership for me and through all the thrills and spills one thing has just stood out to me. You read about things like this on LinkedIn and in leadership books all the time but I thought it was worth sharing.
Timing – Not great!
I just took a 6 week holiday. Lucky bugger is probably your reaction, but I swear I deserved it! As I’m sure you can imagine this was something that stressed me out as much as relaxed me as I had never been away from my desk for even close to that amount of time. On top of this, I had a bunch of new people in my team, one of the other managers in the business was away for some of it, and I had just started a new market/desk so this maybe wasn’t the ideal time.
You may have guessed where this is going; I had to leave everything in the hands of my team. I was planning to be online most days, replying to emails etc. but when unexpected health issues and surgery hit while on holiday, I was offline a lot more than I had hoped. Health has to come first though. So how did that go? I am happy to say it was brilliant. Not only did my team and the leadership team cover my work, they actually managed to perform better while I was overseas. So what to think of this as a leader? Maybe I am not needed!
For me this points to a few things:
- Hire people who you know will have the same work ethic as you, who will be willing to help teammates in times of need, just as you would, without complaint – good old karma;
- Teach and lead your team to be self-sufficient; if anything, I have learnt that I am too much of a safety blanket for my team while I am in the office, so I need to step off in a lot of ways and ‘let them fly’ 🙂
- If you give a detailed and in-depth hand-over even a less experienced team member can cover your work, they may even appreciate the step up in responsibility;
- Work in a leadership team where you share everything, so anyone can step in to lead your team while you are away;
- Don’t be embarrassed or feel useless if your team can manage themselves, isn’t this the dream?
So the best thing that has happened to me while being a leader?
Simple- hire and build a team of like-minded individuals who are willing to work hand in hand and, most importantly, teach them so that they can be better than you! At no point have I felt threatened by the team’s success and I am proud and excited to be part of such a talented bunch.