Building Capacity

As managers it is critical part of our jobs to steadily build capacity in our teams – not just to deliver work.

It’s important not to get too drawn into, or stuck in, the content of what your team delivers.

You need to be leading the people and developing the team, vs. managing (or doing) their work.

We all get tempted to jump in, especially when you feel like it’s easier to do it yourself, or that you are better at it than the people that work for you.

Remember — That is not your job.

You create way more value for the company by developing 10 people to deliver at your level, vs. adding one more person “you” to deliver at their level.

Each time you step up to a bigger job, you need to let go of more content and more detail.

You need to do more strategic things specifically to build capacity and capability in your team so they can contribute more and more value (not necessarily more and more work).

Some people think that if they stop doing the work at a lower level that they are slacking off or that they will lose credibility by not knowing all the details, or will be viewed as not carrying their share of the load.

You are actually more guilty of slacking off by staying in the detail, and not putting in the effort to think and act more strategically.

Some ideas to build capacity and work at a higher level of value as a leader:

  1. Build a plan to drive the overall strategy for your team and its contribution to the business.  Look for game-changing opportunities.
  2. Create systems and frameworks to execute, track, and measure the work so you can feel comfortable that you know what is getting done without diving into the detail.
  3. Create a specific learning agenda for your team such as understanding the financial realities of the business, getting closer to customers, or competitive awareness & positioning.
  4. Help them become better leaders, and to focus on the development of their top talent.
  5. Focus on energy on defining clear outcomes, and improving team alignment, effectiveness, and communication.
  6. Find ways to steadily reduce the cost of things you do every year to make room for new things.
  7. Continually make connections outside your direct organization to create positive visibility for your team and a broader base of support.

By staying over-busy with the details, you are not doing the job the company needs you do to.  Even though you are delivering work, you are depleting value vs. building capacity.

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You can find Patty at, follow her on twitter or Facebook, or read her books RISE and MOVE.

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