3 Things Overworked Managers Need to Stop Doing Today

Aug 3, 2020

Lethargy and laziness aren’t virtues. But overworked managers are their own worst enemy.

Every time you do someone's job - you teach them you'll do their job.

3 things overworked managers need to stop:

#1. Stop doing people’s work for them.

Suppose you’re asked how to do something. The overworked manager ends up doing the work. Why?

You did the job before you were promoted. It’s easy for you. And you’re good at it.

Every time you do someone’s job – you teach them that you’ll do their job.

Ego is exhausting. An overworked manager feels important and smart when they do someone’s job for them.

#2. Stop interrupting people when they’re solving their own problems.

A manager recently described the value of not interrupting. A team member asked a question in slack.

Normally he quickly jumped in with an answer, but this time he waited. In 15 minutes his team member typed three short messages. The last one read, “Never mind. I got it.”

  • Affirm people when they solve their own problems.

  • When someone asks, “What do you think I should do?” Ask, “What have you tried?”

  • If they haven’t tried anything, ask, “What do you think you should do?”

#3. Stop tweaking the solutions of competent team members.

It’s said that we don’t wash rental cars. Why? We don’t take pride in things we don’t own. You destroy the joy of achievement when you tweak someone’s solution.

Their solution is better than your solution as long as their solution won’t cause harm.

Provide opportunity to reflect on learning. “Come back when you’re done and tell me what you learned.”

Why are you hindering competent employees by helping too much?

Drucker said, “So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work.”


  1. Affirm more. Help less.

  2. Provide opportunity for people to craft their own solutions.

  3. Get out of the way, but don’t isolate yourself.

How might managers maximize the talent on their team?

Bonus material:

Management Time: Who’s Got the Monkey (PDF)

By Dan Rockwell