Giving Space to People


At work I'm an aggressive person. If I see a problem I tend to provide a solution, if I see an opportunity I go for it, and if I see something stalling I push it. Such approach has served me well in my career since it made sure that things are accomplished and projects finished. But in recent years my responsibilities have shifted to include more development of people and less development of software. In my new capacity, my aggressiveness turned out to be a mixed blessing. It's still very valuable when dealing with top and fellow middle managers, but it's quite detrimental when dealing with people in my team. I was told more than once that I take too much initiative within my team, thus leaving insufficient space for my team members to fill. Over the past several years I've learned (mostly from my failures) to control my "finish-the-project-by-any-means" instinct and I've developed a few heuristics that I use to give more space to others.

  1. I try not to answer emails, if any of my team members on recipient list is capable of replying.
  2. I try to skip meetings where my presence is not essential. I find this particularly hard to do because I like to be in the know and in control.
  3. I try to keep quiet at team meetings. I find this even harder, because I'm a problem solver by nature and my ego gets a big boost when I propose a smart solution.

I will not claim I'm entirely succeed at giving sufficient space to my team members, but I do try. So, please push me back when I fail.