Arithmetic for Managers
Once upon a time, in a land far far away, there was this young, newly appointed manager. He was bright, intelligent and an excellent problem solver. In fact he was twice as good at solving problems than any of his six staff – that frustrated him. He could not rely on them to do the work as well as he could.
Because he was so much better at solving problems than his employees (and he was indeed better. He was faster, more effective and what he fixed? Stayed fixed!) he attempted to solve all the problems in his department by himself. He micromanaged everything. He was swamped. No matter how fast he ran from crisis to crisis there were more problems than he could solve on his own no matter how many hours he worked.Then one day his mentor, an older, and wiser man who was still sympathetic to well meaning, but self destructive young managers, pointed out in the simplest arithmetical terms something the young manager had overlooked.
Even if he could solve twice as many problems as any one of his staff… there were six of them and only one of him. In other words, he pointed out that 2<6.
And if you took into account that the six employees were working without supervision, and they needed both guidance and coaching, then the situation was even worse… the resources represented by those employees were being squandered.
When I realized (oops… did I just let the secret out of the bag? Ah well, what’s done is done.) this – then learning how to delegate, and keeping my nose out of the work of my staff made more sense.
Yes… I know it sounds too simplistic, but if there’s one skill managers are usually deficient in, it’s the ability to delegate. And yes, the prime reason for this, is that they’re convinced that 2>6 and not the other way around.
illegitimis non carborundum