Trust me

I’m listening to the (excellent) audiobook of  Terry Pratchett’s Making Money in my car right now, and the ten minutes from this morning had me in pre-work giggles.

“It wasn’t that he wasn’t good at delegating.  He was extremely good at delegating.  But the talent requires people on the other end of the chain to be good at being delegated onto.  They weren’t.  Something about the Post Office discouraged original thinking.  The letters went in the slots, okay? There was no room for people who wanted to experiment with sticking them in their ear […]” Making Money, pg 70.

And so I’ve been thinking about how many times I’ve seen, read, or heard of libraries that have no room for people who want to experiment with anything.

And I’ve also been thinking about the complications of delegating.

So Pratchett delivered a good one-two whammy for me, there.

And here’s where I come down on the issue.  Both issues.

It’s trust.

That’s it.

You trust people when you delegate. You trust people when you let them experiment.  You trust that they will do, communicate, be, think, and act in ways that meet your goals and needs.  And they trust you right back when they believe that you mean what you say, that you need what you said you need, that you’ll do what you said you’d do, and that you’ll support them and back them up if they cannot do the work or their experiment fails.

Without the trust, you got nothin’.  Without trust, you’re Moist von Lipwig, stuck in the Ankh-Morpork Post Office with unnecessary piles of carbon copies of everything your employees have done.  And extremely thin ham sandwiches.

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