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Denise Campbell Get out of their way

As you start to get out of your own way things start to flow more easily for you, your thinking becomes more supportive and you take actions that are timely and appropriate - that’s the plan anyway!  Let’s think about building a coaching approach into managing others by getting out of their way.

If we apply that to ourselves, it raises some questions along these lines:

  • In what way am I taking up unnecessary space?
  • What am I doing to obscure their path?
  • What do I do to create blockages for them?
  • In what way am I throwing mud into their waters?

Let’s stick with the premise that when people (your staff, my coachees) are looking to be able to do something, they (in the main, not always) know how to do it already. By getting out of their way through taking a coaching approach to managing, we are potentially releasing creativity and untapped potential, which if tapped into would make our own life easier.

“I would like her to take responsibility for this project without having to refer to me all the time”

Carrot On A Stick

In what way am I taking up unnecessary space?
I have done similar projects myself and I know what works and what doesn’t work so I need to share my knowledge with her as she is much less experienced than I am.

What am I doing to obscure their path?
Not passing on information as soon as I could so she keeps coming to me and asking for things, or we find out in an update that I know something that would have been useful earlier on.

What do I do to create blockages for them?
Insisting that I meet with the client, after all, our clients expect to see someone senior and it would take a long time to develop her relationship management  skills to my standard.

In what way am I throwing mud into their waters?
Not taking time to really clarify expectations and the outcomes that need to be achieved in this project.

More clarity, trusting them to deliver, a little development, explaining to the client that the project is being led by this team member, and passing on information in a timely manner are ways that you can get out of their way and have more time for yourself.

“I want them to come up with ideas about improving our service”

In what way am I taking up unnecessary space?
I hate silences in team meetings so I jump in with a few quick ideas to get things going… but nothing happens so I keep on adding myself.

What am I doing to obscure their path?
Cutting off field ideas before they go too far. I know instinctively when something isn’t going to work, and what my line manager will like and not like

What do I do to create blockages for them?
Insisting I am involved in service improvement meetings but as I am really busy it is hard to arrange them and sometimes a month or two goes by before we get together.

In what way am I throwing mud into their waters?
I have changed my mind a few times about what we can and cannot change, but at the end of the day I am the manager and am accountable for what we deliver.

Clarity of expectations and parameters to work within, trusting the team to do some initial work on their own and allowing a little fun in the process, will enable you to get out of their way and give them the space to bring you something that might be really useful and valuable.

“A new team member is taking longer to pick up the core work than I expected”

In what way am I taking up unnecessary space?
I am keen for him to know that I am interested and so have taken on responsibility for his induction myself even though I have not done the core work for quite a few years myself.

Bray Doh Men In Conversation

What am I doing to obscure their path?
I am waiting to involve him in meetings until he knows the manual inside out - after all that is how everyone in the team has learned to do this - I know he wants to be involved as soon as possible but I know this is the best way to develop this skills set.

What do I do to create blockages for them?
I could possibly have prioritized some of the key material for him to look at rather than saying start at the beginning and work your way through, but I want him to see the non-interesting work as well as the interesting work.

In what way am I throwing mud into their waters?
He has lots of questions which I have asked him to write down and we will go through them at the end of each week, which is possibly too long to wait but my diary is very busy and it suits me better to work that way.

A little flexibility of approach, trusting someone in the team to develop your new team member, perhaps agreeing a review schedule so that you can be involved and, again, you are getting out of their way and creating more time for yourself to do the things you really need to do. 

We are not abdicating responsibility

By positively getting out of their way we are not abdicating responsibility and taking away our support. What we are doing is starting to create an environment that gives them room to think and contribute. It may be challenging for some as we are not providing all the answers for them or taking on things that they are capable of doing with the right support.

Contact us to discuss how you could get out of your peoples way in order to adopt a coaching approach to management.


Denise Campbell

Denise Campbell, Learning Professional

Passionate about working with leaders and managers who want to contribute significantly in their own area of work and inspire those they work with to deliver the goals they are collectively responsible for.

Copyright © 2014 Bray Leino Learning

Other posts you may be interested in

/Denise Campbell Get out of your own way

Tuesday September 16, 2014

A number of years ago I invested in myself and chose to spend time in the lovely Lake District for some personal development with like-minded people. A message that really hit home for me that week was this - “We just need to get out of our own way!”

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/Stephanie Morgan Establishing the need for management development

Wednesday August 01, 2018

I’m a strong advocate for providing new managers with all the help they can get. All too often new managers are left to figure things out for themselves. This can lead to them and their team struggling to perform efficiently. And it’s not just new managers that might need some management development…

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