How to Remove Yourself from Your Team's Day to Day Work

by Jason Evanish, CEO Get Lighthouse, Inc.

How do you remove yourself from the day work of being an individual contributor to being a manager?

What are the things you should start, stop, or continue doing?

remove yourself from the day to day

In our interview today with former CTO and now leadership coach Mathias Meyer, we talk about the unique challenges in the transition to manager. 

If you’re a new engineering manager in particular, this is an essential episode for you. We dive into the challenges and tension of feeling up to date on technology and the work of your team, while not getting drawn into the productive feeling of writing code, which you shouldn’t do anymore. 

Listen to our episode on how to remove yourself from your team‘s day to day work:

Show Notes:

  • If you are a leader who knows you need to remove yourself from your team‘s day to day work, what do you need to do first?
    • Acknowledge you’re part of the problem (or THE problem)
      • Admit you need to change or work on something
    • Set clear expectations with people
    • Empower your team to make decisions on their own
      • Record decisions so people can see past decisions and why
      • Recognize when you’re stepping in and shouldn’t. Step back instead.
        • Resist the temptation to feel flattered and important by answering
  • Learn to apply the Water line principle here: W.L Gore‘s Water Line Principle 
  • Recognize that the higher you are in the organization and the longer things have been done a certain way, the longer it will take to see changes.
    • What can help: Create templates people can use and iterate on.
    • Start small:  Small changes can be easier to get people bought in, and show progress before larger changes. 
    • Be Iterative: You’re unlikely to be perfect from the start. Instead, make small changes and iterate as you go, and listen to your team’s feedback. 
  • Take time to reflect as a leader and think about the week
  • Get in the habit of writing things down. Remove yourself from your team’s work by organizing your thoughts: get them down, and then decide what to do with it.
    • Sometimes the best thing to do is to delete the note once you’ve vented.
    • Other times it’s worth recognizing the patterns in the problem and try a different way to solve it. 

Key action for you to take today from the interview:

  • What is the small step managers can take based on today’s episode for managers being too hands on with their team and needs to step back?
    • Respond instead of react: 
      • Close whatever you’re using to observe the team, or mute yourself (if on video), 
      • Take a step back, a deep breath, and really think about what’s happening in the situation. 
      • Write down 2-3 things you’ve observed and why you think it happened
      • Think about 1 small thing you can do to help address it

Where to find Mathias Meyer:

Jason Evanish

Jason Evanish

As the founder and CEO of Get Lighthouse, Inc, Jason and the Lighthouse team have helped managers grow their leadership skills in dozens of countries around the world. They’ve worked with a variety of companies from non-profits to high growth startups, and government organizations to well known, publicly traded companies. Jason has also been featured in publications including NPR, the Wall Street Journal, and Fast Company.

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