STOP filling in the gap…

Recently a client told me he is tiring of playing referee at home.  I asked him to tell me more.  He proceeded to tell me he has a high bar for his bride and his team.  He doesn’t believe they can hit it and he’s high on the responsibility chart, so he hits it for them.  He’s growing tired in the process. I’ve seen this so many times in BTL I’ve given it a label.  It’s called “The Gap Trap.”  

The gap trap is the trap many high performers trip up and fall into. It begins when the high performer decides to fill the performance gap on their own instead of filling the gap by increasing the skills and abilities of their team.  This is a huge trap for the “responsible” leader.  This guy or gal decides that the team “isn’t capable” at the moment so they shoulder the burden themselves and will their way forward.  Somehow, someway, they close the gap on their own.  The problem is starting to build…

Next year the gap between the teams capabilites and their leaders expectations widen.  The leader has a bigger gap to fill.  Again they don’t see capability around them, so they shoulder the burden and blow a disc or two in the process.  This goes on, for many high performers, for years and years and years.  They have fallen in the gap trap and can’t see any way out.  This leader eventually burns out or blows up.  

My client has fallen into this gap trap, sadly, in work and life.  He is overly responsible in both places. He now understands this and is choosing some new PA to dig his way out. Building others is gonnna hurt when he knows he could do it quicker/better himself. And, he knows a high performing team lies on the other side of this acute pain.  

The gap trap is created when high performers overly value their abilities and under value their teams.  It is highly arrogant and usually accompanied with some serious contempt.  And, it stems from a leaders failure of nerve.  It takes real nerve to give tough feedback to those we live and work with.  It’s much easier to fill the gap on our own.  Until it’s NOT…

Do not fall into the gap trap.  Fall, instead, into the habit of loving your team enough to tell them the truth, believe in them enough to give them the chance to learn, and challenge them to close their own performance gaps. Remember, every leader gets exactly the team they deserve. Want a better team? Become a better leader.

It just takes a whole lot more humility to pull it off at home…

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