Stop getting in your own way

It’s very easy to get in your own way. You have the vision, you know what you need to execute on that vision. However, it’s too much work for you to handle alone, so it’s up to your team to deliver on that. You’re going to be quite frustrated at times and believe that you’re better placed to deliver certain aspects of it. So you opt to get involved at the coal-face and handle certain parts of the deliverable yourself. Is it because you want something interesting to do, want to retain your technical edge or is it because you don’t trust your team.

If it’s the first, then this is all well and good. Just bear in mind that you cannot allow yourself to be the critical path; if you haven’t written anything down, then you’re already in a project that has a bus factor of 1. You are bound to be side-tracked by a great many other things, and if you can’t devote your time fully to the interesting thing; then the project is going to fail.

If it’s the second; then we’re into a whole other situation that needs resolving. If you don’t think you can trust your team; without micro-managing them; then one of the first things that you need to do is to understand what it is that makes you unable to trust the team. Your team is a reflection of you and your hiring process; even if the hiring decisions have been made by a “transfer committee”; you will have had a greater or lesser amount of input into that process depending on your desire to build the team. Let’s hope that you’re not in the position where you have inherited all your team, and have had no chance to develop them according to their strengths.

Take a step back and think about what changes that are needed to make your team greater than the sum of its parts. At some point you will have to let go of your baby, it will develop a life of its own and by then you will only influence its direction somewhat tangentially.

Let go; trust your team; learn to not get in your own way.

originally posted on medium

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