In my experience, leaders who tend to micro-managing competent team members is a major issue. Creative, innovative and highly skilled team members generally don’t like to be hovered over and told how and when to do everything. The rule of thumb is: If you hired people you trust, then trust the people you hired.

Make it clear what their roles and responsibilities are, then get out of the way and let them do their job; as they stay true to who they are, exercise their gifts, and work with joy and enthusiasm. Dan Rockwell shares some very helpful ideas on how not to be “overly-helpful” to those you lead.

Originally published by Dan Rockwell

Don’t hand the ball to a person who habitually drops it. Turbulent days have enough frustrations of their own. Don’t enable people to frustrate you.

First reflection:

Examine yourself before you complain about others.

  1. How are you helping in unhelpful ways? Negative patterns are leadership’s fault.
  2. Why aren’t you bringing up negative patterns?
  3. How are you doing the same thing, but expecting different results?
  4. What leadership development skills will improve your ability to help others effectively?
  5. What do you expect of yourself when negative patterns persist?

7 rules for over-helpful leaders:

#1. Don’t help too quickly. If your first response is doing something for someone, you are teaching people to depend on you, not themselves.

Leaders who help too quickly are despised by the people they help. No one respects you when you treat them as if they were incompetent.

#2. Don’t help too much. Before offering help, ask, “What do you need from me?” People need to hear their own voices asking for help.

Leaders who help too much enable helplessness.

#3. Don’t help too long. Provide help when people are learning new skills, rising to new responsibilities, or taking on new roles. Never habitually do someone’s job for them.

Competent people need to run.

#4. Always bring up issues with optimism. Don’t bring it up if you don’t believe in their desire and ability to improve. Reassign them instead.

#5. Help people who outgrow the need for help.

#6. Don’t talk about anything you aren’t going to do something about.

#7. Don’t worry about concerns you won’t confront. Accept mediocracy

When to stop helping:

Stop helping when you encourage dependency.

Stop helping when:

  1. Competent people don’t step up.
  2. Competent people expect help.
  3. You do more and they do less.