How Deep is Your Bench?

How deep is your bench? 

I am usually the last person to use a sports metaphor but it actually works well here. To have a deep bench means to have a significant number of effective people on your team. This is something you should evaluate intentionally and periodically. 

Having a strong team ensures better collaboration, decision-making, problem-solving, and ultimately better results. When you don’t have a strong team, you may find yourself trying to put out fires that others should be handling, not using your time effectively. 

First, evaluate your bench, your team.

These are some possible indicators that your bench needs some strengthening, 

  • Are you taking on too many tasks yourself?
  • Do you find your team members need your input on every decision they make?
  • Are you attending lots of meetings that you may not need to attend?
  • Do you have to be always present for efficient and effective work to be accomplished?

Next, strengthen your bench.

Some ways to deepen your bench:

  • Evaluate the individuals on your team regularly.
  • Provide regular thoughtful and growth centered feedback.
  • Hire a coach to leverage individual strengths and build skills.
  • Create clear goals for and with your team and make sure they are all on board.
  • Design agreements for how your team will behave when they are together and provide follow through for these expectations.
  • Build trust.
  • Build relationships.
  • Listen.

Incorporating some of these practices will help develop a stronger team that can function in your absence. You may think it is a good feeling to be needed as a leader, to feel irreplaceable; although, it is better to know that your team can work collaboratively, efficiently, and independently because of your leadership. It is just like a teacher in the classroom or a parent in a family. You would want your students to function well even when they are with a different teacher or on a field trip. As a parent, when your children are at school or at a friend’s house you want them to mirror what you have taught them even if you are not around. The same goes for your team at work. Evaluate and then strengthen your bench, your team, in order to build skills and ensure better outcomes. So, how deep is your bench?