If you’ve spent years becoming an expert in your field, it can be extremely difficult to let that go when you become a manager.
Sue was a loan officer in a local bank. She prided herself on being able to help her customers achieve their goals. After two years as a star performer, Sue was offered and accepted the position of loan servicing department supervisor.
She was now responsible for managing the loan servicing department by ensuring accurate and timely servicing of the bank’s loan portfolio, overseeing the production of loan documentation relating to the opening, servicing and closing of all loans, and ensuring loans and agreements comply with state and federal laws, regulations and bank lending policies and procedures.
Needless to say, Sue was quickly overwhelmed and faced with a steep learning curve. It was so much easier to continue to focus on servicing consumer loans, where she felt capable and confident.
However, the loan services staff did not appreciate Sue’s interference, perceiving it as micromanaging their decisions. They complained to the branch manager, who had to tell Sue in no uncertain terms that her role as loan servicing department supervisor would not allow her to continue with her previous daily loan activities. Sue needed to accept and embrace her new supervisory responsibilities if she wanted to succeed in her position.
The branch manager recognized that Sue needed help in developing her supervisory skills. He encouraged her to join a peer learning group with four other department supervisors. Their focus was on learning how to delegate. The group discussed their discomfort with delegating. They felt work would be out of their control, yet they would ultimately be held accountable.
The peer learning module introduced six levels of delegated decision-making authority. The supervisors were relieved to see that they could decide how much or how little decision-making authority they could assign. This assured them that they could maintain knowledge and control over the ultimate results.
Armed with this knowledge, Sue went back to her department and carefully decided how much delegated authority to give to each of her loan officers. The loan officers were relieved to know what decisions they were authorized to make, and how and when they were expected to report back to Sue.
After a month, the branch manager could see that Sue was delegating appropriately and beginning to have confidence in her supervisory role. She was settling into getting the work done through others rather than doing the work herself.
Question: Do you have new supervisors or managers who are having difficulty letting go of their previous technical responsibilities?
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