As your team gets more senior, they need to think more about the organisation than about themselves. It’s one of the toughest transitions to make, and many don’t.
Here’s what I mean.
Obviously as CEO, you shouldn’t overload your team, and you need to make sure there’s sense (strategy, genuine urgency, etc) to why you give people more to do. Those are two key responsibilities you have in terms of what you ask your team to do.
But when you give a busy team member something to do, I’ve observed a that they will respond in one of a few ways.
They may just add it to their list, put in more hours, get more stressed.
— That’s unhealthy, unhappy, and not what I mean by thinking more about the organisation than yourself.
They may ask you what to drop.
— That’s the right response if they’re relatively junior. It’s also a common response if they’re new into a more senior role. But if they are truly operating in a senior capacity in your organisation, they need to get over this as a default response. It both illustrates a lack of ability to operate at the scale that you need, and from their own perspective is unhealthy as it removes their own agency.
Or they may challenge you to make sure you need it, and/or seek clarification to ensure you both mean the same thing, then go and figure out how to make it happen, including any combination of repriositising, delegating, tightening scopes.
— That’s the right response if they’re senior.
Giving your team things to do shouldn’t be taken lightly either by you or by your team. Ask judiciously, but also expect them to step up and truly own it.
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