Why You Should Make Yourself Redundant

By | March 12, 2015
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Learn; TeachHave you ever stopped to wonder what would happen if you had to step away from your agency for three months unexpectedly?

For some, I’m sure this brings images of the apocalypse. Perhaps you’re the agency owner who has your hands in everything from operations to sales to account management, or maybe you’re an account manager who prides yourself in your ability to tackle all client requests and projects singlehandedly. 

And while some may view this irreplaceability as a badge of honor, the reality is that it’s often a sign that they’re failing to fulfill their most important role: leading.

The best leaders make themselves redundant. Here’s why.

You Must Delegate to Elevate

By holding the reigns too tightly on any particular project, skillset, client, etc., you limit your peers’ potential. The only way for your team to grow (particularly those with less experience than you) is to let them try new projects and tackle new challenges.

While it may be faster, or of better quality, to “just do it yourself,” this reasoning is dangerous. Ultimately, you will continue to be the only person who can complete the task at hand.

Not only does this stifle the advancement opportunities of those below you, but it also limits yours. Your time will keep going into the same old activities, instead of being freed for bigger, more challenging projects that stretch your creativity and test your skills.

Identify What’s On Your Plate

But delegation is hard, especially if you don’t know where to begin.

Start by documenting your daily activities. Make a list of all the items you do on a regular basis, and then give each a difficulty rating. Sort your list by task complexity.

You’ll likely find several items right away that could be completed by someone junior if they were given proper training.

Challenge Yourself and Your Team

Next, challenge yourself to teach your colleagues something new weekly. Start with the least difficult items, and slowly work your way up to the most challenging.

This tiered approach allows peers to build on skills in a logical way, instead of being thrust into something they aren’t equipped to tackle yet. And their initial success will give you the confidence needed to trust them with larger, more complicated initiatives. 

Before long, you’ll find that you can turn to your colleagues for projects you didn’t think them capable of before. The result is a win-win. Your team will start to thrive, and your time will free for more strategic projects (or maybe even a stress-free vacation). 

How do you ensure your team is continuously testing its limits, and focusing on advancement? Share your strategies below.

Image Source: María 'tatica' Leandro

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