Out of the Weeds You Love

Get Out of the Weeds You Love

The paradox of leadership, according to Greg McKeown, is that as we advance in seniority, we can become so overwhelmed with new tasks and responsibilities we actually get further away from how we contribute and add value.

I see this a lot, with reluctant managers – often those who have progressed through their careers as technical experts – who don’t want to extract themselves from the ins and outs. They are brimming with expertise, and they can’t help but provide project input, even once they’re in a senior leadership position.

It’s great to care about the details – particularly about the accuracy and quality of the work produced by our teams, and the logistical implications of our strategies.

“What’s most likely to distract us on any given day are the things we have a good reason for doing but not a great reason for doing.” – James Clear

The potential problems with being too focused on details, and not conscious enough of the bigger picture, are that:

  • We work more hours but feel like we achieve less

  • Teams don’t have the opportunity to learn and grow

  • People become frustrated and disengaged by our meddling

  • We don’t see big shifts coming until it’s too late

  • We close our minds off to out-of-the-box solutions too early.

As Marshall Goldsmith writes in What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, our success can be more in spite of our behaviour than because of it. Keeping a close eye on the details is one of those behaviours – we get an immediate payoff, but long-term, we find it harder to connect to context.

When you get out of the details, you empower others to be good at their jobs and help to keep your teams and organisations responsive, creative and future-focused. Some of my most rewarding work is coaching executive teams to strike the right balance, maintaining useful oversight, adding value and empowering their people to get on and be awesome.

Stay out of the weeds! Even when you love them and you know a lot about them. They’re not your weeds anymore.

Til next week
- A