Stepping Away at Times

Learn to step away from time to time, giving the team autonomy to function in your absence using the Strong Team test.

If you really want to see how far along your team has come, take the Strong Team test, and go away for a while. I don’t mean “don’t meet with them,” I mean literally go away. Jump on a plane, fly to the Montana Badlands, or the San Diego beach scene, or maybe Hawaii. More importantly, shut your laptop, mute your phone, and remain offline for 24, 48, 72 hours or longer.

If your team is well-organized, the processes clear, and the presumptive successor identified and (partly) trained, they should be able to function quite well without you. In fact, some managers worry that if the team is able to run too well, the team doesn’t need the manager anymore and the senior executives will use that as an excuse to fire the manager! Personally I think this is just insecurities talking and an indication of a poor manager—and poor managers tend not to have teams that can go for long by themselves without the manager.

Let the team run without you for a while. See what happens. When you return, talk to the team about the experience: what worked, what didn’t, what should’ve been done and wasn’t, what was done and shouldn’t need to (start/stop/continue). Adjust and correct. Rinse and repeat. Promote. Designate. Train and coach. Step away. Adjust and correct. Rinse and repeat…

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