I (Bob) learned a big lesson from a couple of my screwups this week. This is a boring little story, but it holds a good moral.

Tony, one of our top leaders, does an excellent job of hosting our weekly Sunday team call.  He opens the call with “One Good Thing” and closes by arranging for the personal development speaker for the next week.

Last week, I was talking at the end of the session, forgot to turn it back to Tony, and closed the call myself.  Screwup Number One.  Tony reminded me that we did not have a PD speaker for next week, and said he would send out a request.  No problem.

On Monday, Joshua volunteered for next week, and without thinking, I wrote back to thank him.  Screwup Number Two.  Meanwhile, Ed wrote to Tony to volunteer, and Tony wrote back to Ed, thanking him.  Now we have two people scheduled for the same week, and Tony has to repair the confusion.  More emails back and forth, half of them me apologizing.

The minor mixup got straightened out the same day, but it could have been handled much more easily if I had not been part of the process!

If I had let Tony do his job on Sunday, no emails would have been necessary at all.  If I had let Tony handle the emails and scheduling on Monday, the situation could have been corrected in two steps rather than the ten or so made necessary by my blunders.

More important than the wasted time, was the chance that Tony may have felt undermined.  Ed and Joshua may have been left wondering what kind of leadership we were providing!

Our job is to delegate responsibility, develop leaders, promote duplication, and work ourselves out of a job.  As Tom ‘Big Al’ Schreiter says,

You know you’re successful when you’re earning money from the efforts of people who don’t even know you exist.  Besides, things seem to run a lot more smoothly when I’m not around!

So here’s the big lesson I learned:  If you give someone a job, let them do it.  Things will work better and everyone will be happier if you just Get Out Of The Way!

For more leadership tips from the best, you’ll want to read Big Al’s five best selling books.

Bob and Anna Bassett
Skype bobbassett

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