Get out of the way

In her book Bossypants, Tina Fey wrote “In most cases being a good boss means hiring talented people and then getting out of their way.” This is something all leaders need to remember. It is your job to build a talented and skilled team of people.

But once you have them, you need to let them go and actually do the work without hindering the progress. This means letting them take ownership of it – giving them the responsibility and capability to make their own decisions about their work.

Sure, you might need to manage projects and resources, but you should not be managing people. If you hired responsible adults and not puppets, they can manage themselves.

So what are you doing as a leader then?

  • Inspiring people to take action;
  • Removing obstacles so the work flows easier;
  • Developing the strengths, skills and interests of the people on your team through training and mentoring;
  • Aligning jobs with the organization’s vision so your team can see how their work connects with the overall goals;
  • Promoting belonging and strong relationships within the team.

While this is hardly an exhaustive collection of things great leaders do, one thing you’ll never find on the list of a leader who believes in their team is “looking over a person’s shoulder to make sure the work is done right.”