I want you to eavesdrop on a conversation I had yesterday:
Me: “I don’t know if I have been serving you the best. Let’s meet tomorrow to clarify the projects we’re working on.”
Colleague: “Why would you say you haven’t been serving me the best?”
Me: “I think we have been collaborating on the same work for too long. I don’t want us to be co-dependent as we work together. We’re on the same page, you have the DNA, it’s time for you to go for it! We need to delineate our work which will allow us to multiply our work.”
Apprenticeship is the intentional transfer of knowledge, skills and expertise into the life of another.
The conversation represented above becomes crucial when you embrace apprenticeship as the means to leader development. We would love to help you do that very thing through our executive core process. When you learn to build leaders worth following, one of the important priorities is to understand where people are in the apprenticeship process and then work at making the shift from one phase into the next. In the above scenario, I have been working alongside someone for six months and have increasingly been aware over the last couple of weeks that it is a time to release this person into the next wave of the apprenticeship process. There is a necessary shift going on.
This particular shift will involve the transfer of more ownership and the necessity of working more independently. Rather than me doing it or giving all of the answers, I need to find empowering ways to allow my colleague to own it and feel confident that they are heading in the right direction. I’m not very good at that; I would rather use my own knowledge base and have others rely on my expertise so I know it is done my way. (Selfish, I know!) Here is what I believe to be a powerful question to help transfer ownership:
If I weren’t here, how would you handle it?
When you move from working together in the initial phase of apprenticeship to sending the birdies out of the nest to fly for themselves, you have to put steps in place that enable the people you lead to think and, then, act on their own. This allows them to have ownership and increase confidence in their plans.
What questions or practices have you found helpful in transferring ownership to others?
Feature photo courtesy of Highways Agency.