Whether you’re a person in a position of leadership or a leader in regards to how you choose to show up in your life, your job, and relationships (anyone can be a leader; depending on how you choose to show up, smile, do your best, and be your best)… every leader will have to make the decision of how much rope they are going to give their people. Some will give too much rope before individuals are ready; leading to employees or other people in their lives to run amuck with not enough experience or training to make positive and forward-thinking decisions. Some leaders will not give enough rope; stifling their people and either burning-them-out due to micromanaging or boring-them-out due to a minimal and unchallenging workload. So, how does a person in a position of leadership know how much rope to give and how does a leader get more rope given?
R. – Respect Superpowers
I love superhero movies; the drama, the action, special effects, and of course… the superpowers! Each character has their own special ability, knows how to use it, control it, and is identified by it. These amazing individuals then form a super team and take on the world of adversity! Although the movies and characters are fictional; not much is different in real life. Every person on the planet possesses their own superpower! Some find it early and hone it, some find it late, while some never choose to expand it or see how strong their superpower can get or take them. The point id everyone has one. Therefore, as a leader, everyone on your team has one and it’s your job to see it, help hone it, utilize it for the good of the goal, and develop a team of diverse superpowers ready to accomplish a variety of tasks, projects, and take on all adversity!
Respecting Superpowers will give you more confidence in how much rope to give your people as well as what specific roles and task best match their power. In contrast, knowing your superpower will increase your confidence in what you are good at, why you’re good a it, and most importantly what responsibilities to ask your leaders for.
O. – Optimizing Leaders
Managers manage people and tasks; giving orders without developing connection or legacy. Leaders produce other leaders… optimizing their leadership and the leadership skills within members of their organization, team, family, and relationships.
Look at any successful sports team. The successful head coach is always in the news and interviews, but quietly many of the coaches under them soon leave the organization, get their own head coaching jobs, become successful, and a Coaching Tree is formed! Why? Because leaders produce other leaders! They bring in people who are hungry, ready to learn, are aware of their own superpower, get more and more rope, and off they go to success! This only happens when the leader is willing to let go of the rope a bit to see what happens, see what’s great, and what needs to be fine-tuned.
If you are looking for more rope, a request may sound like “Hi ______, I want to be great here. I believe my superpower/best asset is ____________ and I want to be of more value and impact. I’d like to start ________________ and would like a week (you pick the timeframe) to do my best and then get your feedback. Does that sound reasonable?” No matter the response, you will learn a lot from their answer. You’ll either get more rope or exit the conversation with a new understanding of what they’d like you to know more of or an idea if this company, team, or relationship is for you.
P. – Prioritize Your Time by Letting Go
“Busy” doesn’t mean “Better” and “Busy” most certainly doesn’t always mean productive. Too many times we get caught being “Busy” instead of “Better” and keeping the rope and all of the stress that comes will it all to ourselves. So, what to do?
The answer is to prioritize your time. I often share the concept of my Priority Quadrant when working with companies and employees, in my past blogs, and also in my videos on social media. I won’t go into depth, but it simply breaks down to your priorities fitting into:
- High Priority/Handle Now
- High Priority/Handle Later
- Lower Priority/Handle Now
- Lower Priority/Handle Later
If you’re in a position of leadership, sometimes it can feel as though everything is in the High Priority/Handle Now Quadrant but it’s not. In looking at your list of responsibilities, perhaps it makes sense to let go and give a bit of rope to within your Lower Priority/Handle Later or Lower Priority/Handle Now. As you gain more trust and traction, perhaps the High Priority/Handle Later; freeing up more time for you to develop leaders and more time for your people to become leaders. Imagine a parent doing every task for their kids; then complaining that their children don’t know how to do anything, are ungrateful, and unaware of what it takes to get anything and EVERYTHING done. What?!?
E. – Easy on the Consequences
As you give more rope; there will be growing pains, incidents of mistakes, misunderstandings, and plain ol’ big blunders! Remember, its part for the course! Going heavy on the consequences, insults, rolling of the eyes or any of the other demeaning acts that act to snatch the rope back only hinders growth. The key here is to understand why the mistakes happen, their mode of thinking, showing the bigger picture, and teaching ways to best move forward!
I don’t promise the Leader’s R.O.P.E. to be easy, but I do promise it to be worth it as you work to develop leaders, place them in the right-seats using their superpowers, enhancing their powers with your own, and evolving both leadership and work/life harmony for you and them!
“Managers manage people and tasks; giving orders without developing connection or legacy. Leaders produce other leaders… optimizing their leadership and the leadership skills within members of their organization, team, family, and relationships.”