Hello everyone! New fish here in this fishbowl. I have a question concerning empowering and developing the team.

Is it possible to empower the team and delegate certain tasks and then risk to be perceived as “irrelevant” to the superiors (because the team is doing the legwork)? Is this an unfounded fear? Is it a real risk? And if it is a real risk, how can I manage it?

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I’ve always tried to delegate and empower my team. It’s a partnership and we learn a lot from each other. It’s okay to take it slow- start by delegating work but own reporting and status. See how it goes!

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Yes. I do that. But it’s the “perception”, because my team is always running from one place to the next (and I expect them to, working on the shop floor, working on tasks related to their projects), and I owe the reporting and lead the steering committees. But for some reason the perception is that I spend too much time in the office and little in the plant. I have engineers and first line managers reporting to me for this reason, but the expectation appears to be for me also to be doing specific tasks, which I know how to do (I started as a new Engineer there and went up through the ranks until my current position as head of department). I go to the shopfloor and I lead the team when there are escalated issues, but for day to day job? I have to take care of customers, damage control, reporting to upper management and whole lot of things that involve me being on the phone and or Teams meetings.

Sounds like this is an issue with your new manager. I would recommend having an honest conversation with them around expectations.

helpfullike

It’s a good skill to be able to delegate. As you get more senior you often get too much work to manage where you’re forced to delegate. When you’re able to support the people beneath you and they produce good work that’s a great reflection on you n

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If you are delegating, which is good, you then have the opportunity to stretch your own skills to something more and more strategic, complex or highly valued. If you are overseeing other people's work, that's not adding value.

helpful

Very helpful comment. Follow up question: in practical terms, how do you stretch yourself beyond your current expertise? I’m head of the Quality department in a manufacturing plant.

The best leaders have a good team around them who they empower. You should not have to worry about this. As long as the work is getting done at a high level, that will reflect positively on you as team leader.

uplifting

By the way, I never had problems with my previous director. This is my 8th year in the role and I don’t understand what am I missing.

What does your team think about this approach? Do they see the value that the work you're doing with the stakeholders brings to their work? It's important because if your new manager says you're "detached" from the real work and your team thinks the same then you do have something to reflect on. Is your work adding the value that it should?

First-timer in this bowl. Apologies if my response doesn't accord with some rules or guidelines.

I asked those very same questions. If the team was now doing what I had been doing because I had delegated/taught them my job, what now was my job?

So, simply put, you have to figure out what you do that the team can't do. And that's where you'll put your time and energy and make the difference that you know counts.

For example, teams can never meet with the CEO or your colleagues who are members of the executive group. You do but what do you expect to come away with every time you've gone into one of those meetings?

I did write a book - "I'll Teach You My Job!" - where I dealt with this and a number of other approaches that I developed to work with my groups and really what my job was.

I know many people very much dislike having to go to a half-dozen or even more meetings a day but my view was that you need to go into those meetings knowing what you want to be the outcome(s) and make sure you focus what you say to achieve those outcomes.

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