I’ve noticed an increase in the number of leaders I’ve been talking with recently, feeling overwhelmed by a sense of responsibility and taking themselves amost to burnout, some of them resigning altogether from their leadership positions s.
One lady, who I have been coaching, shared with me just the other day the fact that her team members are not pulling their weight. In her eyes, they are not helping to make decisions and not getting involved generally in operations in a way that they should be. So, being a very conscientious individual, she has been making up for the lack of weight by pulling more weight herself; basically, doing their jobs and making their decisions, in a bid to speed things up and get the work done.
I asked her to think back to when this happened first and how she handled it. She was very quickly able to get back to her first recollection and her immediate reaction, when initially she felt let down or disappointed, would be to take on the task herself until the team were not only allowing her to pull more weight, they were now critisising her when stuff didnt get done! Weird role reversal.
During the conversation, she realised she had created this situation for herself. By being the one who continued to show up and take responsibility, she was not only taking on more responsibility for herself, she was taking it away from the team.
They were, in turn, feeling quite disempowered and were also low on morale, as they were unable to be creative in the way they wanted to be in their roles.
The next week she got the team together and they discussed this responsibility theme and each member felt strongly about it. They had witnessed the leader taking on more and more and assumed that’s what she wanted or that she didn’t think they were capable. So they let her take more and more on and felt more and more removed from the team’s goals themselves.
An honest and open conversation ensued with the leader allowing responsibility to be shared back out amongst the team: as a result, new ideas and new initiatives were discussed.
Of course, as leader you take overall accountability for the success/achievement of the project: that’s why you are in a position of leadership but you have a team to help you deliver the goals and they are as keen for it to succeed as you are. But do remember to allow them to join in and to take ownership of their own parts in the overall goal.