Your Employees Don't Need a Boss

You know the old saying “Lead, follow or get out of the way.”  That is usually said when someone is frustrated with a project.  In most cases the “boss” needs to just get out of the way. But that doesn’t mean anarchy is the way to go.  Allow me to explain –

A “boss” is someone who tells people what to do, stands over them to make sure they do it, that they do it right and punishes those who don’t do it.  If that is your role, you have the wrong people (more on that in a moment).

What your employees need is someone to bring in the right people with the right skills, provide direction, development and tools, remove the roadblocks and then let them do the work.

Why do you have employees? The simple answer – to do the things you don’t have time to do, can’t do and that can be done by someone else.  You hire smart, creative people to do those things.  If you stand over them and tell them what to do or how to do it you are stifling their creativity and innovation.  Exactly the opposite of why you hired them.

Do you want your employees to think?  Do you punish people when they try something that doesn’t work? Do you want to stick with “the way we’ve always done it” just because you know that way works? If you have a culture where trying new things to see if they’re better is discouraged you are turning your creative, smart people into sheep who do what they are told, when they are told, how they are told and nothing more.

Do you want your clients and customers to be happy? Your customers are going to be happiest when the first person they talk to can solve their problem.  Creative, smart people with the authority and responsibility will make decisions that are good for your company and good for the client. For an example of what happens when that isn’t the case, think about a time you spoke to a “customer service representative” at a large company about a complex problem.  How many times were you put on hold or transferred?

Do you want an A team or a C team? If you hire average people you are, at best, going to get average work; and if they aren’t feeling motivated, D work if they show up at all. Plus you will spend most of your time trying to cajole them into doing C+ work.  Remember, teams will regress to the average.

Do you want your team's skills to grow or stagnate? You’ve seen the joke where one executive asks “What if we invest in employee development and they leave?” and the other responds, “What if we don’t and they stay?” Nuff said

Do you want to pay for dead weight? Maybe you inherited a team with a C- member. Maybe you made a hiring mistake.  Maybe your company changed directions and the skill set you need changed.  Whatever the case as the “boss” it is your job to keep the team healthy.  Do the tough trimming jobs when you need to.

Those of us who are promoted to “boss” are often those who were really good at "doing".  As the “boss” it isn’t your job to do anymore.  And it isn’t your job to tell others how to do. It IS your job to make the doing as streamlined as possible. And that is a job of a leader.

Your employees need a leader not a boss.

As always, I wish you the MOST from your potential!

Doc Robyn

Dr. Robyn Odegaard (aka “Doc Robyn”) is internationally known conflict resolution expert, motivational speaker and executive wordsmith.  As CEO of Champion Performance Development, she works with executives, professionals, athletes, and coaches to help them achieve excellence in all aspects of life through active leadership, powerful teamwork, effective communication, Productive Conflict™ and professional disagreement skills.  She is the founder of the Stop The Drama! Campaign and author of the books Stop The Drama! The Ultimate Guide to Female Teams and The Ultimate Guide to Handling Every Disagreement Every Time.  To work with her one-on-one, have her present to your team, request a custom workshop or invite her to speak at your event, email her at or call her 302-307-3091.

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