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According to the recent "My Boss Skips Me" podcast, I am a lousy manager.  I all-too-often skip my directs and go directly to team members for tasking and answers.

 

I'm looking for tips on how to change this behavior.

 

I reflected on my reasons for doing this.  A couple come to mind.

-I'm impatient and want things done immediately, so I go directly to the person who I know can get this done to avoid the delays.

-I'm not satisfied with the level of detail / understanding that my direct demonstrates when I ask a question.  Sometimes I get the feeling that this same direct report does not have a clear understanding of the work that they are supervising.

 

Suggestions?

12string's picture

I also would go around my directs to get things done.  It seemed faster, and I knew exactly when the tasks were complete.  Everything's great, right? Not so much.

I realized I was the source of morale issues with my directs and even to the employees I handed the work to.  I started forcing myself to pressure my organization through my directs.  I would still follow up with the tasks to make sure they got done, and I would hold my directs accountable when it wasn't happening.  

I found that my O3s became more productive, and the conversations in them were more relaxed. 

I changed my behaviors by not looking at the tasks and who could do them, but by focusing on which direct report was responsible for that area of the organization and ask that direct to take care of the task. 

I guess this would be delegating my delegation...ish.

Hope this helps,

~12string~

1user's picture

Thanks for the observations.

 

One thing that troubles me is that one of my team leads avoids owning technical matters that his team handles.  Often he'll say "I'm not technical" or "Let me ask Joe about that".  I think I may have done this direct, the organization and myself a disservice by putting them in a lead role.

 

One of my thoughts in this area is to highlight this "gap" and make my direct more responsible for technical matters, and to make them stop using me and their team members as crutches.

Midge3265's picture

 

 
Midge

1user,
 
My question to you regarding:
 
-I'm not satisfied with the level of detail / understanding that my direct demonstrates when I ask a question.  Sometimes I get the feeling that this same direct report does not have a clear understanding of the work that they are supervising.
 
Whose fault is that? 
 
If you as a manager have directs who you feel do not have a clear understanding of the work that is YOUR fault. Part of this may be that your directs feel as though you are undermining them and now feel they can no longer make a decision without consulting someone else. You have as much demonstrated this by bypassing your directs and going directly to team members. 
 
Stop the habit. Go to your directs and make them accountable. I am pretty sure that they want the trust from you and the satisfaction of knowing you have faith in them. Let them go. They may not do it exactly like you would, but they will do it. 

1user's picture

Thanks for the tips.

jhack's picture

Good that you recognize the need to change.  And Midge's point  is a good one: you owe it to your direct to ensure they are doing the right things in their job (like, do they have the right level of detail mastery?)

Consider this:  why do you urgently need technical details that are held two levels below you?  Are you doing your job or are you trying to do someone else's job?  Are you thinking strategically?  Are you focused on developing talent?  

If you're doing the job of people below you, who's doing your job?  

Start thinking about what you should be doing.  By focusing on your role, at your level, that can help you focus on the right things (for example, instead of firefighting, you should be fixing processes or improving products).

John Hack