Over-accountable was the analyses of the stress one of my clients experienced. And... it did not create a better relationship with his team.


Anytime you become the hero by solving the problem, you risk teaching your team that without you, the situation is helpless. If you’re an effective manager, escalations should be aberrations that you accept rarely and thoughtfully. Here are some questions to ask yourself and principles to follow to make sure you’re not stepping in when you shouldn’t.

Who should own this problem? When you transition from professional to manager, change the way you approach problems presented to you. Before asking, “How do we solve the problem?” pause and consider, “Who should own this problem?”

Do it now or do it right? At times, it’s appropriate to allow a direct report to escalate a problem if urgency trumps process. You should engage those in your team in the process as much as you can so you are more a partner and less the hero.

What is the least I can do? In your desire to be useful and responsive, you might be tempted to do more than you should. If others are struggling to solve problems they should rightfully own, always ask, “What is the least I can do?” Find the lowest level of initiative for yourself while requiring your team member to act at the highest.

As a manager, your primary contribution is creating a high-performance team and the primary driver of high performance in teams and organizations is peer accountability.