You Can’t See a Vision When You’re Tangled in the Weeds

June 23, 2019
Mary Jo Asmus

If you are a “people leader,” every time you get more responsibility, you need to work toward seeing further, broader, and becoming more visionary. When you take on a higher level of work you need to be thinking about delegating and stepping out of the daily work to fly above it and see a vision.

When you are overly tangled in the weeds – checking up on minutiae, making decisions someone else could be making, rolling up your sleeves and getting too involved – your vision is blinded.

Are you one of those leaders who loves the messiness and firefighting of everyday work? Do you not trust your employees to take on the daily tasks you’re too involved in? Do you think your employees are too busy to take on more? Chance are you’re stuck in the weeds. And when that happens, those who make decisions about your next move up in the organization won’t see you as capable of something bigger. They need a leader who can create and articulate a vision.

So get busy:

Helping others to prioritize their work so they can take on some new things. Most of your employees will appreciate your help and assistance with their overloaded schedules. Help them to figure out what they can say “no” to, what they can delegate to others, and what they should keep and prioritize.

Delegating even when it hurts because if you enjoy daily tasks, it will. Gather up your courage and begin to hand out the work and decisions that you’ve been doing that keeps you in the weeds. Find the right person to do each job, and then get out of their way. Let them do their work and support them in it.

Coaching them if they need it because some may be scared of this new world that you’ve caught them up in. And some may not have the right training or knowledge to do what needs to be done. But they are all capable of learning with your coaching (which doesn’t give them all of the answers, but helps them to figure things out for themselves).

Broadening yourself as your time frees up so that you can see the systemic connections between your organization and the rest of the company you are in. Put your courage hat on and get out there and talk to people that know more about the company vision than you do. Volunteer to take on a big enterprise-wide assignment that will require you to learn more about the company. Read up on the visions of other companies and organizations like yours.

When you’re tangled up in the weeds of daily work, you can’t fly high enough to see a vision. Get busy stepping away from some of the daily work so that you can free up your time to work on becoming visionary.

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Mary Jo Asmus is an executive/leadership coach whose work spans decades of making a difference in the lives of hundreds of executives, leaders and teams in Fortune 500, mid- and small-sized business, governments and nonprofits. She focuses on facilitating individuals and teams from first-line supervisor to the C-suite to create, develop, and influence the relationships that can make them extraordinary.

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