It's (NOT) Easier When I Do It Myself
Confession time – and be honest. When faced with a fast-approaching deadline or an issue that needs solving, you’ve thought to yourself that it would just be easier if you did it on your own, haven’t you? I’m not particularly proud of it – but I’ve been there and thought that, too.
Now, here’s the thing…I’m the first to admit that I struggle with when I should – and shouldn’t – just do it myself. But my insight doesn’t make much of a difference to the people I work with if I don’t act on it. Over the last year, I’ve learned that it is NOT easier when I do it myself. In fact, I’ve become more aware than ever that the impact of this way of thinking holds things back.
Here are a few of the lessons I’ve learned and, more importantly, what I’ve done to change…
First, I burned myself out – more than once – trying to take too much on and not leaning on others. It’s simple to think “I’ve got this,” but a bit more complex to realize half-way though, “Oops, I totally don’t,” and that the results will invariably show it.
Thinking through the difference between how I want and need to be involved and how I can better discern when to engage others has helped me. I already know that I’ll want to be involved in most things because I love the work that we do – which means I need to be extra diligent here.
It also became clear that I was sometimes a bottleneck. Admittedly, a well-intentioned bottleneck. But a bottleneck nonetheless! The combination of the volume of work and my desire to be involved in the details led to efforts stalling time and time again. The last thing I want to do is frustrate, disappoint, or even worse, disengage my team. Setting clear timelines and holding myself accountable has helped me make strides.
Lastly, and this one hit me the hardest, I realized that I was limiting the growth of other people by not allowing them to take on new challenges. Part of what made it easier for me to do it myself was that I had already mastered that type of work.
But, ugh! I’m a learning and development leader for crying out loud. The fix for this was simpler than I thought it was going to be: I make more time. That’s it. It may mean that deadlines aren’t always perfectly met or the result isn’t exactly the way I would have done it – but being part of someone’s development is way more rewarding.
Know better, do better. If you’ve struggled with the plaguing feeling that it’s easier for you to just do things yourself – I’d love to hear your lessons learned. If you’re still struggling, I welcome your comments, too!
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