Apr 12 2011






When you undermine those


who work with you, YOU


become less effective. 



Entrepreneurs, small business and professional practice owners and managers are notorious for undermining the people they work with. They’ll ask a partner, associate or employee to handle a certain task or make contact with someone in their absence, then –an hour or two, or day or two later– will turn around and do it themselves.


Sound familiar?


I’m reminded of one of those yea/boo stories [I need a bucket to bail out the boat (boo!); ah, here’s a bucket I can use (yea!); oops, my bucket has a hole in it (boo!); the hole is in the top (yea!) . . .].


When you ask someone to do something and then whisk the job away because it wasn’t done the way you would do it or because it wasn’t done as quickly as you wanted — or worse, maybe it was already done, but instead of checking to find out, an assumption is made that it wasn’t, and the task ends up being needlessly duplicated. 

Besides that such actions are looked upon unfavorably by both internal customers (employees, investors, referrers, suppliers, lenders, advisors) and external customers (purchasers and consumers) and are considered highly unprofessional in business circles . . . the behaviors persist.

By pulling the rug out from under someone you’ve charged with a responsibility, the likelihood is great that you will also have managed to ignite fuses of discontent, frustration and neurosis.

Not to mention the not-worth-it losses you’ll suffer in credibility, respect, and reputation. 


I know personally of two employee shooting rampages attributed to having “assigned responsibilities” prematurely withdrawn, or arbitrarily reassigned. 

When you as a leader empower someone (or set someone up to become empowered), be extremely clear what needs to be done, and how (assuming there’s no room for interpretation or alternate approaches), and by when. Then go away. Don’t disenfranchise an individual that you’ve just enfranchised.

“Well,” you say, “this sounds good, but nobody else does stuff as effectively as me. If I don’t ‘ride herd’ on those I give assignments to, they’ll never get done.”

Are you really saying that you don’t trust those you’ve partnered with or hired? Is what you mean that you think you’re better than anybody else? Is what you mean that you like running around like a maniac, putting out fires?

Are you really saying that under all these pretenses, you simply don’t trust your SELF or your own judgment?

This may sound embarrassingly obvious,

 but worth the risk of mentioning anyway:

When the kinds of carelessness

that start fires to begin with,

are eliminated to start with,

you won’t need to start with

being a firefighter. 


Maybe it’s time to consider corporate life, or a job with the Post Office? Most towns have openings for roadway cone placement. Nothing to undermine. Think of all the stress you’ll spare yourself.

Entrepreneurial leadership means–among other things– that you need to trust those you’ve trusted to work with, to get the jobs done that you ask them to do, and go about your business of growing your business instead of wasting your time and energy, and everyone else’s. 

Think twice before you delegate. Make sure you are delegating to the best person to get the job done under the circumstances. Make sure you explain carefully what’s needed, and by when, and how much room there is to determine methods and techniques for getting the job done. Set “How Goes It?” follow-up plans. Trust. Walk away.

When you undermine others,

                                                you’re really undermining yourself.

# # #

  931.854.0474   Hal@BusinessWorks.US

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You.

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Nov 21 2009

Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.

Your Laundry? No.


But Your News? Yes!



     Dear Boss – No, your employees are not entitled to inspect your laundry,  but they do need to be empowered to accept and process your ideas and plans, and be encouraged to contribute according to their experience, skills, and capabilities. 

     If you’re playing this  (seemingly never-ending) ongoing small business economic disaster news close to the vest, and not sharing what’s happening with those around you,  you’re cutting off your nose to spite your face . . . you may be missing a unique opportunity to take advantage of free, life-saving input from those with invested time and energy. 

     If you’re keeping to yourself  where you see things going, and not discussing your ideas for how you’re going to get there, you are shooting yourself in the foot. (And, psssssst: no nose and no foot can make things even tougher than they already are.)

“As the economy continues to shift, keeping employees up-to-date on how the company is responding, and how they are affected, will help insure against their becoming demoralized and disconnected.

“Effective communication helps engage employees, and that has positive implications for productivity and the bottom line.” 

–Kathryn Yates, global leader of communication consulting at Watson Wyatt


     You have chosen to own and/or manage a business or part of one.  Along with that choice comes significant leadership responsibility. Along with leadership responsibility comes the obligation to maintain and encourage 2-way communications with all those who report to you. 

     This is not a responsibility to take lightly.  Keeping those around you informed of what’s going on, spelling out for them how you see what’s going on, and where you aim to take things is the kind of stuff that makes or breaks the backbone of a business.

     Notice I said “2-way”  which means listening as intently as telling. It means weighing, assessing, and actively considering the suggestions of those around you. They are, remember, around you because you chose for them to be around you and you did that because you respect and trust them.

     So? So respect and trust them!  Accept that your people are as invested in keeping their jobs and growing the business as you are. They may not match your personal commitment level, but give them the benefit of doubt when they have ideas and suggestions. You might even learn something that makes a difference! 


# # #


Hal@TheWriterWorks.com  or comment below.

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You!

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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