Fill in the blank: If you want something done right . Most people fill in the blank with some version of “I have to do it myself.” This pervasive belief is one of the main reasons for the overwhelm and frustration many leaders experience.
We’ve all had a situation at one time or another of relying on someone for something and being let down. It happens. However allowing these past experiences to limit your future is a huge mistake.
Imagine you’ve arrived at the scene of a car accident with multiple patients in the vehicle, two victims are bleeding all over, one is coughing up blood, someone else has an obvious fracture and one person is unconscious in the rear seat.
You’re running around the car trying to control the bleeding, suction an airway and splint someone’s arm. You have 5 trained EMTs & paramedics surrounding the cars watching you run back and forth, yet you keep telling them, “I’m good, I’ve got this, I’ll take care of that. I want it done right so I am doing it all myself.”
As absurd as this sounds, this accident scenario is similar to your organization. You have qualified people waiting for direction, ready to help and you keep thinking you have to do it all yourself.
Step 1: Developing those around you
If you want to stop doing it all yourself, it is imperative that you alter your perspective and see delegating as an opportunity to develop people into leaders.
Just as you have become more and more effective as an Emergency Responder by learning from every experience you’ve had you must learn from each time you delegate.
Ask yourself questions like:
- What worked or didn’t work about the situation?
- How could I have been clearer?
- What structures or procedures can I implement to support better communication and accountability?
Also, asking the person you delegated to what was missing for them and how could you have done better is an important step to gaining new insight and developing your delegation skills. Exploring each situation for opportunities for you and the other person to grow will only help you in the long run.
The short-term solution of doing it all yourself is not sustainable. It causes burnout for you and leads to poor recruitment and retention in your organization because it creates an unhealthy culture.
In summary, the first step in not doing it all yourself is to alter your perspective so you can begin to develop yourself and those around you.
Not doing it All Yourself Part Two covers how to become the Leader People Want to Follow.