When Hartman and I started together, he’d often ask me what he should do. To save time and energy, I’d tell him. He got good at tossing me his monkeys. Eventually, we decided on a different process. When he’d ask me what he should do, I’d say: You know I have an answer. What’s yours? Let me know how it works.
He developed his abilities through experience. I developed my managerial skills. Both of us became stronger, more competent. We had to take ownership and connect the dots—by doing our jobs! We learned, gained invaluable experience, enhanced our knowledge and skills, and immediately added more profit to the company.
Try it with your people. Don’t take their monkeys…toss them back. Let them learn, and perform, their job. If they need help, guidance, or correction, you’re there to provide it. The sooner they grow their abilities; the sooner they do their jobs themselves; the sooner you develop a contributing asset—a confident, experienced, extremely valuable co-worker.
If you still think you have to do everything, that no one can do it but you, you haven’t developed the team you need! And you may be an all-star monkey-catcher, but you really need to develop your management skills. Quit letting others toss their monkeys to you! Teach them to how do their job themselves. You’ll guarantee that your people grow—herding their own monkeys—with you leading the way!
***Thanks, and a tip-o-the-cap to: The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey by Blanchard and Oncken