Right now there is someone on your team who is great. They could do more if you let them, but you aren’t because you’re happy with the work they are doing. That is the wrong mindset for growth. Are you finding all they could do? Are they pushing themselves to a point that they are just starting to fail? If you are not pushing them, or letting them push themselves, then you cannot understand their capacity. You also will not gain the extra bandwidth they could provide for the inevitable problems that will come up. You’ll be taking more on yourself instead of pushing those opportunities down to the team — resulting in limited growth for the organization as a whole.

For managers, our desire for stability is often our worst instinct. We sometimes see our orgs as chores that need to be settled so we are free to do our work. Looking at an org as a fixed cost is precisely the wrong mindset. Instead, I find the best managers engage with their team as their work product. We should aspire to be creative with our orgs and continually ask ourselves how they could be improved.

Aim to increase the capacity of your leadership constantly. You must stay ahead of growth (generally linear) and crossfunctional complexity (generally quadratic) while retaining flexibility for changing market conditions and people leaving or returning to IC roles. This should also leave you room to take on new things which you might be uniquely capable of doing. Getting a leadership team in place the right way is an ongoing investment of your time and will not happen without effort.

Look for leaders on the team and start to give those people opportunities to stretch themselves. Only when you find the limits of what people are capable of will you really know how to help them and also where to make critical hires. By holding onto things yourself to protect team from stress, you miss an opportunity to let them impress you and grow overall capacity. You will put yourself in an overextended position and you’ll never have an understanding of latent talent on your team.