WOW Word-Of-the-Week #504: Independent

April 3, 2014 by  

Independent – not relying on someone or something else for support.

Would you say you are independent? How about your staff? Do they repeatedly need help doing their job?

This is the follow up and second WOW taken from the Expert Advice Column in the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, written by Jennie Wong and titled “3 MISTAKES EVEN GOOD MANAGERS CAN MAKE.”

Jennie writes, “If you’re new to managing others, you are undoubtedly on a learning curve of your own. But what if you’ve been doing it for a while? What if you’re actually pretty good at it? Chances are, you’re still making these common mistakes. Good managers inadvertently commit these errors all the time, but once you realize where the stumbling blocks are, you can make a different choice and evolve to the next level of leadership.

Mistake No. 2 – Helping Your Employees

 Wait, isn’t that a good thing? Not always, and not even most of the time.

Oryx Antelope

Helping your employees is only a good thing the first two times on the same matter.

By the third time you’ve helped your employee with the same issue, you’re crossing over into a rut of dependency. If you have been “coaching” one of your people on the same topic repeatedly, your first job is to stop. Stop hoping that they’ll “get it,” stop wishing that they’ll change, stop spending your own working time doing their work.

Instead, take a step back, and figure out which managerial decision needs to be made. Does this person need to be retrained on fundamentals? Does this person need to have his job redefined? Or do you, the manager, need to solve the problem at a deeper or higher level by creating a checklist or process chart, or purchasing new equipment or software? Pick a bullet, then bite it.”

This week’s focus is being independent. Have you ever had to help an employee with the same issue/assignment more than once? Do you feel you have been trained properly to do your job? Is there something you can do/change that would make it easier for you and/or your staff to be independent?