“It’s just faster to do it myself.”
A pair of Exec Creative Directors said this when I asked why they were finishing their team’s work rather than teaching them.
It’s also why they were nearing burnout working weekends.
Sure, it is faster for an expert ECD to do the work. But, it’s also a missed opportunity to create an engaging learning environment for their team and to build their agency’s capacity.
Three common blockers were in their way…
1. Conflict avoidance
Some managers are relational and compassionate by nature. Supporting their people comes easy. Their real challenge is bringing challenge.
They prioritize relational harmony or avoid conflict, so they do things like picking up their team’s slack instead of pushing their team to learn and grow.
Self-awareness and leadership coaching can help.
2. Wearing maker AND manager hats
Many agency directors wear both hats, but these are very different roles.
Makers need focus time, often intentionally isolated from the team. Managers need to be accessible to guide, mentor and support their people.
Balance is needed.
3. Knowing how to develop people
There are four ways you can develop your people:
- Informing: one-way formal communication, efficient for large groups (meetings, announcements)
- Training: smaller groups, less formal but still structured
- Coaching: 1 on 1, relational, responsive
- Apprenticeship: highly informal, relational, transformative, and time-intensive
Each provides distinct value. Make the space to use a mix of all four.