Management

Get Out of Your Own Way at Work

By Ken Kirsh
December 1, 2012

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There are more moving parts in your life and more responsibilities and commitments competing for your time than ever before. Time is your most precious commodity and you never seem to have enough of it. Welcome to life in the 21st century.

One of the most effective strategies for achieving success in this hyperactive environment is to eliminate or at least manage counter-productive behaviors. We all have these issues; they apply to all positions - up one side of the corporate ladder and down the other.

As a communications consultant and business meeting producer for 25 years, I've had considerable access to and experience with C-suite executives and the problems organizations have getting the most out of their employees and managers across the board. Not just training and motivating but maximizing the productivity and engagement of their most precious commodity: human capital.

I've written a book, How To Kill Your Company: 50 Ways You're Bleeding Your Organization and Damaging Your Career, that shines a light on the most common counter-productive behaviors to help managers recognize these traits in themselves and others and become more adept at solving people problems.

Below are excerpts from three chapters of the book that illustrate some of the more toxic behaviors that damage companies and prevent employees from achieving their full potential. It's time to take that long, hard look in the mirror and face up to what you should not be doing.

Too Controlling
Sorry, this one hurts, I know. You're probably accused of this more than you like and more than is warranted. Thing is, taking control is essential to your company's growth and success. The other thing is, you take it too far. Where do you draw the line?

Deciding how much control to take isn't always easy. Just how far to go with people and situations depends on the circumstances.

That said...

You micromanage.

You lack trust in others.

You think you're the most capable.

You refuse to let go.

You impose your will too much and too often.

They say you can never be too thin or too rich. Perhaps. But your instinct to seize as much as possible is definitely too much of a good thing, like overexposure to the sun or relying too much on one club. There's a place to control, such that you'll otherwise jam the mechanism, a surefire way to bleed your organization and damage your career.

I realize this is a tough one. I'm just saying think about it. Then change.

Build and Protect Silos
Your instinct is to control and protect. You share only what comes back to you in income, stature, security, promotions, or more control and influence.

The company is not selfish. You are.

Your company wants you to succeed, but it needs to grow. And it feeds on the very communication you block and over-manage.

You must find the common ground between your self-interests and other departments/divisions to meet your company's needs. Your company is bigger and more important to you than you realize.

I can't believe I even have to explain this to you but apparently you're not alone; it's one of the most common problems I've observed. This doesn't mean you should feel better because so many people are guilty of this offense. On the contrary, it means you need to differentiate yourself as someone who understands how much more trusting, insightful, and open you ought to be.

No one is threatening your job. Your company needs and wants you to be in control and in charge of your area. It just wants you to share what others in your organization need from you. The company's left hand needs to know what its right hand is doing; if it doesn't, it will confuse itself, then confuse its customers, then lose money.

Have confidence that this communication will come back to you in even greater returns.

Stink at Delegating
You do too much yourself. Whatever the reason - you think it's faster, handled better by you, others are incompetent - you're wrong, and you need to delegate more.

What? It's because you don't have anyone to delegate to? That may be, in which case you have to be far more efficient. But think about it: You don't only delegate down, you also delegate up and sideways. Think, too, about whether the task is necessary in the first place. Sometimes you can delegate to the trash can.

Perhaps you're too controlling, lack trust in others, see it as a sign of weakness, or you're the micromanaging type. Or maybe you think you're the smartest guy in the room and therefore have to handle everything yourself. If that's the case, you're clearly not the smartest guy in the room; if you were, you'd realize how much you could accomplish by delegating more. Every problem can't be so important or idiosyncratic that only you can solve it.

And what of the opposite problem: You assign and hand over too much. This is another way to stink at delegating and says more about your indolence and/or lack of accountability, both of which we'll get to.

Even if they can't do a better job and their work is merely adequate, sometimes good enough is good enough.

In any of these cases, you're not only misusing your time, you're lying to yourself - the one person with whom you should be the most honest, plus you're probably alienating those around you.

Bottom line? You need to let go. Give it away. Focus on more important things. 

Ken Kirsh is an award-winning business meeting producer and speaker. His new book reveals 50 ways you could be damaging your organization and your career, then gives you immediate means to make productive change. See more inside the book at www.HowToKillYourCompany.com. Contact him at (973) 978-9479 or Ken@HowToKillYourCompany.com, on Twitter @KillYourCompany This page is protected by Copyright laws. Do Not Copy

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