“I have so much on my plate. I just spent four hours on a proposal this morning, and last night after dinner, I was reviewing another project.” My client went on to say how her team could have done the work, but then the quality would not be as good. Does this sound familiar?
Stop. Stop right there.
As a coach, this is what I listen for, and then we dig in. I knew she was stressed about work/life balance. What was happening? What would it look like if she had chosen not to help on the proposal or project? Would it be okay? Yes, and maybe “only okay,” but then next time, would it be better? Could some things get learned, transitioned, trained, and improved to be great?
If you hear this and think, “That is me,” I want you to ask yourself, “What am I doing today that a team member is qualified to do? What am I planning to do tonight or worrying about doing later this week that an employee could do?” And then listen. Does your mind say one of these things to justify why YOU have to do it?
My team is busy.
I am helping them.
They won’t do as good of a job as me.
I need to know what is going on.
They didn’t do a great job last time.
It has to get done right away.
Let me counter those thoughts with a different perspective:
My team is busy - Maybe this is a project they are excited about or feel responsible for. Maybe you doing their work makes them question if you trust them. Let them choose how to prioritize and what to work on.
I am helping them - Do they want your help? Would they rather you be working on the business or other projects?
They won’t do as good of a job as me - Perhaps they won’t, but they also won’t learn if you don’t let them do it and then learn from their mistakes and learn from you. You are giving them the gift of experience. By the way, they will do the job differently, and likely an innovation or improvement will occur - isn’t that a good outcome?
I need to know what is going on - How might you know differently? What is another way to stay and be informed versus doing the work?
They didn’t do a great job last time - Did you give them feedback, do they know? If so, you need to let them learn and practice.
It has to get done right away - Does it really? What is at risk if you take more time? What and who might benefit if time is adjusted and the team can do their job? Is it more about communication? Who is setting the urgency? Can you adjust expectations?
In summary, when you let them do it, you are giving them the gift of trust, responsibility, and growth. You are creating more options for yourself. You are utilizing the team that you spent money on, tapping into new ideas, and gaining new perspectives.
So, what is your job, and why are you doing something you hired others to do?
If you can’t answer that question, then revisit your job descriptions, including yours, and create clear expectations as to who does what.
It is your choice how your time gets filled. So go get those four hours back after dinner and work on having a healthy life and leading your business.