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(c) banabun

Most of these “Leadership Proverbs” I’ve just picked up, absorbed and imbibed by some process of osmosis along the way and don’t know exactly whom they originated from. But when I know I’ll make reference, and when I don’t it’s not that I’m ungrateful or that I want to appear like a genius. It’s genuinely that I can’t remember. So if I’ve flogged something from you let me know and I’ll happily acknowledge it.

Anything worth doing is worth doing badly

The things you do and the things you are responsible for are important, otherwise why would you waste your time doing them? They matter and they need to be done well. And at the same time one of your jobs as a leader is to train and raise up new leaders who can take on those important tasks and free you up to focus on other areas or to develop new important tasks.

The trouble is often these two agendas clash. Training someone up means, almost by definition, that they won’t be that good at it to begin with. And most likely not as good at it as you are.

One solution is to stop training people and to just keep doing those things yourself. The upside is you know those things will continue to be done well. The downside is that you fail a key task as a leader in adding value to the people in your team, and you restrict the impact you could have by hindering that multiplication of effort.

The simple truth is that in order to train people and multiply yourself there will also be a temporary dip in quality. But then over time those people will start to get a handle on the task and the quality will begin to rise and sometimes some of those will even surpass your level of expertise. But in order to get there you had to be able to cope with a dip in overall quality.

But if the task is worth doing then it’s worth doing badly in order to train people.

Or what if there simply isn’t enough time for you to do everything, and so certain tasks either get cut and don’t get done at all or you hand them on to someone else who you know isn’t as competent as you but you know will see them get accomplished. If it’s a task worth doing then it’s a task worth doing badly.

Just because the task won’t be done as well when you don’t do it doesn’t mean you should stop doing it. Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.