We’ve all heard Harry S. Truman’s famous quote, The Buck Stops Here. I agree that the top leadership has the final say, sets the direction and the buck stops with them.
However, that does not mean that you, the leader or manager, should be a dumping ground for your direct reports! Teach them to fish for themselves. Are you teaching your employees to fish or are you the dumping ground for work and issues that they don’t know how to resolve or because “it’s not their job?”
The leader in the business or organization should be leading – setting the strategic direction for the company, looking at the big picture and communicating the plans to the staff. If the leader gets caught up in all the issues that other employees dump on them they don’t have the time to take care of the bigger matters.
Here’s a few tips on how to get away from being the dumping ground:
- Ask the employee how she/he would handle the problem and if you agree, reassure them that they can handle it. If you don’t agree, tell them how they should handle it and give them the confidence and authority to handle it.
- Look for a pattern of what is being dumped – teach someone else how to handle that work and if necessary, add it to someone else’s job description.
- Watch how controlling you are as a leader – is the reason for the dump because you feel like no one else can do that work. Question yourself and your reasons for taking the work or issue. Is it really necessary for you to handle that work or can someone else be trained or be given the added responsibility? By the way, most employees like to learn now things and take on more responsibility – it makes their jobs more interesting. If they don’t like to take on new responsibilities – you may have the wrong employees.