It is so much better to learn something from someone’s good example (versus from the bad, shared in yesterday’s post). Luckily, I’ve had a few of those as well.
During the pause I took on my way to a college degree, I found myself working at Walmart. It was there that I began reporting to Kevin. Because it was Walmart, he’d been imported from another rectangular state to get his varied experience on his ladder climb. I think he was from Kansas but I remember a bit of a southern accent. I’m sure he wasn’t yet 30 but he seemed far more experienced and responsible than I felt at the time.
In one of our first meetings he said, “I won’t ever ask you to do something that I wouldn’t do myself.” And I thought, “Yeah, OK. We shall see…”
The store was new so we spent quite a few weeks building shelves and building out the placement for all the new merchandise. Throughout the entire process, Kevin taught us what he knew and showed us what to do in a hands-on way. Once we figured it out, he went on to do whatever management thing he needed to do, but he was always there with us when we had to get dirty or lift heavy merchandise or stay later than we would have liked.
His words have stuck with me all these years because they matched his actions. Delegating is an important part of managing. As managers, it’s incredibly important that we understand why delegation is taking place. Are duties being passed on because it will be a growing experience that will enrich the career of those who work for us? Or is it just something that we don’t want to do? When it falls into the latter bucket, the person who has been assigned the project knows. When it’s happened to you, you knew.
So what to do with those tasks that nobody wants to do that really need to get done? When possible, get in there and get your hands dirty, do the heavy lifting – and when your team has it under control, step away. Always remember to thank them and remind them of the importance of their work to your business as you do.
When you’re willing to dig in with them, I promise that they’ll remember it… perhaps for years to come.
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