Too often, when someone doesn’t know how to do something, the advice given is “outsource it” or “delegate it.” This advice is intended to save leaders from taking on too much responsibility themselves or stop them from doing things their team could do instead. However, it’s important to pause and consider how learning to do something, especially technical skills, can better your business and you as a person.
Before you jump to outsource or delegate, ask yourself…
Should I learn to do this?
Increasing your technical skills has a number of benefits both for yourself as a person and leader and for the overall health of your organization. While it’s never advisable for leaders to get so in the weeds on business functions that they are becoming a hindrance to efficiency, it is important to understand how business is carried out from a tactical standpoint. And who knows? You just might enjoy what you learn.
Here are the top three reasons to continue technical skills development.
Technical skills are an important part of developing your strategic brain. If you don’t know what your tools are capable of, how will you know the best way to use them? Learning the basic functions of a system, what the interface looks like, and how to do basic tasks within it will equip you with enough knowledge to strategically use it going forward. It also keeps you attuned to the direction your industry is heading and where you may gain a competitive advantage.
Another issue with the “outsource/delegate” method for everything is what if you need to do something in a pinch? Whether it’s working late at night or a team member has unexpectedly left, as a leader, to maintain momentum, you shouldn’t be crippled by simply not knowing. Understand how to use the system and where the SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) are kept.
If you’re always outsourcing and delegating, are you ever following your curiosity? Creating too long of a list of things you “shouldn’t” be doing makes you feel guilty or shameful about things you’re curious about. How many times have you heard a leader being told, “Oh, you shouldn’t be doing that. Let someone else do it!”? That takes all the fun out of it! If you’re curious, dig in and learn. You may never use it, or it may become one of your greatest strengths. You never know, but don’t avoid learning because you “shouldn’t.”
Do you have a tool that you’d like to know more about? Perhaps someone built a system for you, but you don’t know how to use it. Or you have questions about leveraging it more? During a Strategic Operations Intensive, I’d be happy to help you get acquainted with your system and optimize how you use it. Learn more here.