Some of you have asked “Is leadership allowing your team to handle the entire process of replacing a staff person on their own? Or is leadership diving in to help the team because you can obviously help hire someone faster?”
The answer is: “It depends.” It depends on the team you have in place right now.
If your management team is relatively new, they may not have the skills or knowledge to manage the entire process on their own. So, consider this a training opportunity. Support, guide and mentor the team through the process and how each step in the hiring process works. You can step in to model a part of the hiring process when an example is needed. When you model that step, be sure to capture what you are doing and document it. Then, participate as a peer in the actual hiring process so that you can mentor the team to success – for themselves and for the person who gets hired.
If you have a team for which you have modeled a process multiple times and it is still not working, then you probably don’t have the right people in place.
If you have never modeled or trained people in the process of achieving a successful new hire, or any other practice process, then the answer includes you getting involved with staff to demonstrate how to complete the process. Follow the process with an opportunity for staff to model and practice the process with your mentoring and guidance along the way, until the process can be successfully completed without your training or support.
If your management team is seasoned, has participated in hiring processes with you in the past, and the team understands what a good-fit hire for your practice is, then you can take a step back, make yourself available for questions, and cheer the team on to hiring success.
Will they ask?
Sometimes people ask for help. Often however, people will not ask for help because they want to accomplish a task on their own. Sometimes people will not ask for help because they know you expect them to do it and they’re going to work their way through it, successfully, or not.
When people do ask for help, they are not asking you to do it for them. What people are asking for is direction and guidance on how to do what has been asked of them so that they can do it on their own this time and all of the times the task needs to be done. Thankfully, most often, people do want to accomplish tasks in ways that are contributing to the success of your practice.
When people don’t ask for help and you notice that help is needed, provide leadership, guidance, insight, feedback, and encouragement that helps each team member successfully complete tasks. Provide support in a positive manner so that staff members feel like they have been mentored and guided toward achieving successes on their own.
Do it for them?
“But when should I step in and do the process myself?”
Your role as a leader is to provide clarity, to demonstrate how you want something done or documented, and to be available to respond to questions as they arise. Leaders know that completing a task for others can prevent others from learning how to do the task themselves. However, leadership also involves knowing when to step in and show the correct way for properly accomplishing tasks.
Leadership means stepping in to complete a task if it involves danger to the staff member or to another person. When there is danger, step in and complete the task yourself to demonstrate the proper approaches and procedures for the person and to maintain safety for everyone.
In addition to possible human danger, it is time to step in to complete an action when equipment might get broken or when a wrongly-performed procedure will cause a practice process failure or even possibly a regulatory violation. When people have not yet performed tasks according to procedures, it is important to do the task yourself in order to model the proper steps for completing the task.
In other words, do it for them when they have not yet done it themselves. Do it for them once, as a training process that staff members watch, model and begin to participate in, so that ultimately they can complete all appropriate tasks on their own as a result of your ongoing training.
When people join your practice with experience in the field, train them how to complete tasks according to your practice processes. Observe as people complete tasks a few times to provide training, guidance, and feedback. Once you see that tasks are being safely accomplished according to your practice procedures, then you can step out of the way to let people complete the work on their own. Remembering, of course, to stay available for questions as they arise.
Helping others think through solutions is also a part of training. Sometimes people need to talk through a challenge, get input, and discover a solution on their own. This input and discovery process is a valuable part of training.
The difference between being a business owner and providing leadership is that you know when to train and support others in being able to complete tasks on their own, rather than you being the one to complete all of the tasks. After all, you’ve hired people to help automate the practice. Teach them how to support you and how to automate the practice.
How do you lead?
What is your typical leadership approach? Do you lead by jumping in and doing everything in the practice? If so, you are preventing others from learning how to do the work and keeping them from automating the practice. You may also be conveying that you do not value the people you’ve hired, which will cause them to leave your practice.
Do you lead by leaving everyone to their own devices and allowing them to figure out everything on their own? If so, you are standing in in the way of your own success in moving toward achieving an automated practice. Without consistency and your desired practice procedures being followed, the practice is likely to be unsuccessful or even to fail.
Team members will not know how you want things accomplished or what procedures to use if you do not provide training, mentoring, and coaching for success. Ideal leadership is knowing when to do a task for others as a way of modeling how to complete a task, and knowing when to step back, let others complete a task with your mentoring along-side them, and finally, knowing when to remove yourself from hands-on mentoring and allow team members to complete tasks on their own.