Don’t be a mum or dad

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Father and child

You might be a mum or dad at home but you shouldn’t be forced to play that role at work.  But we all get comfortable with certain roles – and sometimes the people you work with like playing the teenage child who will just sit back in project meetings and let mum and dad get on with it.  I had been frustrated with a couple of projects where teammates were just coasting when i went on a leadership course with Robin Yourston.  It was Robin who dropped in the Don’t be Dad line.  It made perfect sense.

By being Dad, I was letting people shirk their own responsibilities.

I had to hand over the responsibility to them.  I had to accept that it might take longer but when they responded, for them the solution would be better than anything I could personally implement.  Sometimes people who can’t grasp solutions intuitively need things broken down.  Sometimes they need pictures to be drawn.  So I went back to my project group and did two things.  I drew pictures of the competing technical proposals instead of issuing written instructions and the most challenging thing I did then was to set up a project team meeting and then not turn up myself.  I manufactured a diary clash and made my apologies, letting the team meet without me, asking only that I was sent the action notes they agreed between them.  I got them within four days of the meeting.  That was longer than I would have taken, but they were now getting involved, engaged, and responsible for the project.

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