Darryl Stewart
By Darryl Stewart
A doodle of an enthusiastic leader pointing at a board that says 2017

A leadership pledge for 2017

With the start of the new year, some of us will begin transitioning into new leadership positions. However, as we move from front-line roles to leadership roles, very few of us adapt quickly enough. Many of us confirm the Peter Principle in the process. That is, we rise to the level of our incompetence.

In my experience, this happens to most people because they hold their cards too close and do too much of the work themselves. This was certainly the case for me. I was good at the hands-on stuff and enjoyed the feeling of getting the tasks done. I wanted to keep the good feelings coming, even when it hurt my team.

This is a pledge that I made to myself in 2016. I plan to double down on it in the year ahead, and I invite you all to do so as well:

  • I am going Teflon (nothing will stick to me).
  • I will accept no direct tasks other than those related to setting and driving strategy and ensuring strong communications.
  • I will coach, I will advise, I will provide people with resources, but they must do the actual work themselves.
  • If the team is too busy, I will help them prioritize what needs to be done first and patiently wait on the rest.
  • I will put the right people in the right roles.
  • If I find out that I have a person in the wrong role, I will deal with it quickly.
  • I will make time to talk to customers and team members to understand the realities we face, to enrich my perspective, and to improve my decision-making.

If you are half leader and half hands-on, I suggest you carefully draw some boundaries around what you are expected to do yourself and apply this pledge to how you handle the rest. This is how you develop yourself as a leader and develop your team in their roles.

Have a great 2017!