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Advancement is Management Minus the Power Struggle

Best piece of advice I have been given as a manager:  Always be teaching others how to be you.  Inspire them to be gunning for your desk and to become you.  Humbly step aside when they replace you.  Without them to replace you, the opportunities of your advancement decline.


Right after that tidbit of wisdom was imparted on me, I was asked to spear head a rather large project.  Enjoying a challenge and wanting to prove myself, I drove in head first and with full gusto.  Right before the project was to complete and after 99% of the heavy lifting had been done, I was asked to hand the project over to one of my subordinates.  It was a gut wrenching overwhelming experience to transfer all that hard work and effort to someone else and watch them get the accolades.  I was having a difficult time swallowing the advice I had been given and could not see the path that was being laid before me.  With much power struggle, I finally gave into the advice with a “wait and see because I will just prove them wrong” attitude.  A few days later and much to my surprise, I was promoted to not only manage our inside sales team but our outside sales force as well.  This was a newly created position as the two teams in the past had separate management.  By the way, crow is a little easier to swallow with some spicy mustard, a raise and a new office.  


It is the human condition to engage in tactics of self-preservation.  It is not our nature to build other human beings up to take our place in life, unless they are our offspring.  It goes against our mammalian brain function that drives our survival motives.  You might find this a challenge sales representatives to CEOs, but always be teaching others to be you.  Inspire them to want your position and humbly give away this post when they assume your role.  It might be an emotional stretch but you will always be creating the space for your own advancement to occur or maybe even your retirement. 


Copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved

Views: 104

Tags: Achievement, Advantage, Coach, Coaching, Development, Growth, Improvement, Leader, Leadership, Management, More…Manager, Professionalism, Progress, Results, Stephanie, Success, Training, Young


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Comment by Tom Gorham on August 17, 2011 at 8:17pm
Hehehe, like it Stephanie!
Comment by Stephanie Young on August 17, 2011 at 6:36am
Thanks again for your contributions, Tom.  Not sure what movie this line comes from or even if I am quoting it correctly: "Trust everyone, just don't trust the devil inside them."
Comment by Tom Gorham on August 16, 2011 at 4:49pm

"The burden of the leader is to determine who can be brought up along the ranks and who can not." I agree and I think it's not always the person your training that's a threat.  A leader inspires loyalty and may not fear the ones he's training.  But a leader can also may a difficult job look easy, and be underestimated by his boss.  Paying the trainee less money may just look attractive to the boss who doesn't understand the accomplishments of the said leader.  There's an old saying, "Sometimes you don't know what you've got 'till it's gone."  I believe that's the bigger threat.  Especially if there is no "place" for the leader's promotion.

Still, I appreciate what you've said and I do believe it's valid.  I only urge caution and an understanding of ones understanding of the dynamics of their company and situation.  Don't be blind. Be cautious.  Trust everyone, but lock your doors.  Good luck!

Comment by Stephanie Young on August 16, 2011 at 6:33am
Thank you for your insight, Tom.  It is a hard pill to swallow and sometimes it can be a slippery slope.  I think we all have stories in which replacement wins over placement, as there are employees that no matter what you do, empowerment is not in their game plan.  The burden of the leader is to determine who can be brought up along the ranks and who can not.
Comment by Tom Gorham on August 15, 2011 at 5:16pm

Wow, Stephanie, that's such great advice and so hard to follow.  So many people have been replaced and simply put in unemployment lines.  I've seen it happen over and over again.  I truly believe in empowering your employees but I think each manager must look at the dynamics of their company.  It sounds so noble but it could be walking into a trap as well.  It really depends on the leadership at your company and whether they truly appreciate what you bring to the table.  I'm really happy that it worked out well for you.  I'm not sure it well work out well for everyone.



Comment by Stephanie Young on August 12, 2011 at 5:38am
Thanks, Tom.  Just passing along the gift I was given from a mentor of mine.

Comment by Thomas A. Kelly on August 11, 2011 at 2:47pm
Solid advice Stephanie.

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