Recruiting to Freedom

Recently while working my way through the Leadership Beyond the Theory course (see here for details: during the weekly webinar, I mentioned that I was recruiting to freedom and the idea has really stuck with me since. To put it into context, the discussion was about working at level – the idea that as you progress through an organisation on an upward trajectory, then you move further from the work that is both comfortable and familiar. The most recent module was about accountability and after this module, the two concepts have been ringing in my ears all week (as they are no doubt meant to and congratulations to Marty and Emma).

In a technical role such as mine that can branch over time into either a senior technical role or a management role, it can be very easy to get sucked back into some lower level work. This is not to say that work of that type isn’t important – but it’s not really what I’m on the job for (or what I’m paid for either). Particularly in IT (a field I’m best at describing) there are certain areas of expertise that demand attention. It’s easy to get pulled to technical work and away from what you are really paid to do – which at a higher level is all about leadership. I imagine this is no different outside of IT and I’m also betting there are plenty of other managers that are dipping down like this.

So now it’s time to start looking for these gaps and how to fill them with in the most effective way possible. I think that way is to find someone new to cover the work, hence recruiting to freedom – find someone to fill the gaps, do the lower level work and free up the time to do the actual work of leadership. While the lower level work isn’t bad work (and indeed quite enjoyable at times) it’s not really what you should be doing. It can be easier, but don’t we advance our careers to challenge ourselves?

I find detail work very hard to do, so that lower level work is a real drudge to me – working at a higher level, on bigger projects (often with more complexity) is freedom for me. Managing to escape some of those day to day, repetitive tasks is pretty great. There are, naturally, these kind of tasks at all levels so there is a certain trade of one to another. It’s getting to the bigger and more interesting stuff that is important, so freedom from the lower level boring stuff is great. It’s been my experience that you have to keep pushing to get this done – don’t leave that gap behind you when you get promoted – it’s like a black hole that will drag you back in. Recruit to freedom!

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