Don’t Confuse Commitment for Competence

If you are anything like me, then you absolutely love it when people on your team say…

We’ve got it.

After a moment of euphoria, I’m instantly grounded by my next thought…

Do they?

If the answer is “Yes,” then I’m filled with gratitude and relief.

Most of the time this story ends here, but every once in a while I get blindsided: A team member I fully trust to deliver…doesn’t.

What happened?

Often, I can chalk up my misplaced expectations by mistaking one’s work ethic for capability. I get blindsided by (a) my confidence they are going to put in the time — so I don’t follow up and (b) their belief if they just work harder they’ll figure it out — so they don’t ask for help.

BAM! …they don’t “got it.”

There will be situations, no matter how dedicated the team member may be, where hard work cannot overcome a lack of experience. Our responsibility as leaders is to recognize those situations and act accordingly. Address the gap and provide the team member with the time and resources to offset their limitations or hand that particular task to an expert. In short, don’t delegate responsibility based solely on one’s commitment when competence is required.

Don’t Confuse Commitment for Competence was originally published in Horizon Performance on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.