Monkey on your shoulder

When you are a manager; people come to you with problems all day long. One of the biggest mistakes new managers/supervisors make is to “own the problem” (i.e. take the monkey). After all, they got where they were by being good at solving problems and there is a tremendous sense of satisfaction that comes with solving problems.

BUT when the boss takes the monkey, several not so good things happen:

1) The Team Member never grows, never gets empowered, never learns.

2) The boss ends up with a zoo full of monkeys, often more than even she can handle.

3) The boss is so busy taming other people’s monkeys she never gets around to her own.

As tempting as it is, never take the monkey! Empower, teach, mentor, yes! Offer support, ideas, resources, yes! Take the monkey, never! And, if you wish to learn and advance, never try to give up the monkey! Ideally, no one should walk into their boss’s office without having thoroughly thought through the options and having at least some recommendations.

Closing Quotes:

“Force responsibility down and out. Find problem areas, add structure and delegate. The pressure is to do the reverse. Resist it.”  – Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense

“Delegating means letting others become the experts and hence the best.” – Timothy Firnstahl 

“No person will make a great business who wants to do it all himself.” – Andrew Carnegie, 1835-1919, steel magnate