Today, I’m starting with a story! A couple weeks ago at my company, BeeSmart Social Media, one of my team members took a Friday off. It just so happened that during that Friday, one of our biggest clients emailed her (with me copied) to ask us to change our meeting date from the following Tuesday to Monday – effectively, moving the meeting to one day earlier.
My employee wasn’t going to be back in the office until that Monday morning, so she wasn’t going to see this email until then. Once the client received her auto-responder, the client reached out to me and asked if I could look at my employee’s calendar and schedule the appointment FOR her.
That struck me as to how inconsiderate it would be for me to put a time on my employee’s calendar for a Monday morning, without talking to her first. It would have been different if I had been the primary contact for this client, but I’m not. I’m honestly not even a secondary; I just happen to have a personal relationship with this client. I looked at it as being asked to, kind of, go around my employee to make a decision about her client and her schedule,without her input. And that’s something I don’t do.
I responded to the client saying that no, I wouldn’t schedule for my employee or reach out to her on her day off to see her availability. I left it with, “She will respond on Monday; if she has time to meet Monday, she’ll let you know.” At the end of the day, the client was fine, everything worked out, and this didn’t come up again. It really made me think about leaders and managers who do go around their teammates; those do make decisions for them without checking with them.
That’s the big mistake I’m talking about today – don’t make decisions for your people without checking in with them first. Ideally, you’ve given them the authority to make those decisions to begin with. Your job is to respect the boundaries YOU’VE drawn yourself – giving your teammate authority to make decisions – and respecting your employees’ boundaries that they’ve set with you, with the customer/client, with themselves, with other team members.