The Sharpening Stone – CYA

None of us are perfect.  We all make mistakes.  And as a leader, you’re even accountable for mistakes that other people make.  Yikes!

That’s why today’s segment is on CYA.  That’s right.  Covering Your …Absence.

When we coach leaders, we routinely ask about their most important duties, the communication structures they have in place, and the meetings they lead.

And then we ask, “What happens when you’re gone for a few days?”

Most say that the meetings they lead get canceled, and they tell people “Go to my boss with any questions while I’m away.”

Wait a minute here!  If your team needs to meet and communicate while you’re around, shouldn’t they also meet and communicate when you’re not?  Should the world stop turning just because you’re not there to control it?

Consider designating someone else to lead your meetings. Give them appropriate parameters on what decisions they can make and act upon, and then follow up when you return.

So, who should you ask to lead those meetings or cover your duties?  Is your boss really a wise choice?  I’m not sure that’s good career management on your part.  For your boss to perform your duties will feel to them like a step downward … like you’re burdening them with lower level work.

Why not assign your duties and meetings to a subordinate?  Most achievement-oriented individuals embrace the opportunity for a higher-level challenge, and they’ll step up. They’ll see and appreciate that you trust them.  Prepare them in advance so that you maximize the likelihood of success, and debrief with them afterwards so that you’re kept informed and can offer constructive feedback.  Use these situations to develop and empower your people.

So remember, don’t burden your boss or put your team’s work on hold just because you’ll be away for a while.  That could leave your absence exposed.  Instead, call others to duty while you CYA.

About the Author: Rob Skacel, Ph.D.

Rob is a licensed psychologist with senior executive experience. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Franklin & Marshall College, and Master’s and Doctoral degrees from Purdue University. Rob began his career in the field of clinical psychology, splitting his time between patient care and management responsibilities. Within a few years, he began the transition to business psychology specialization. He has since held senior leadership positions in sizeable for-profit and non-profit organizations, where his responsibilities focused on performance improvement and organizational development.

Rob founded True Edge Performance Solutions in 2000, and maintained it as a part-time venture for a number of years as he continued to accrue executive experience. By 2006, True Edge had grown to the point where it required Rob’s full-time attention. Over the years, Rob has provided services to dozens of leaders and their organizations, in a variety of industry sectors such as manufacturing, professional services, health care, agribusiness, construction, education, non-profit, and trade associations.

The Sharpening Stone

The Sharpening Stone is a series of short videos from True Edge designed to sharpen leaders and their organizations.

Want to receive The Sharpening Stone in your inbox? Signup below.

Rely on our executive experience and professional psychological expertise to help you find your True Edge.