As an “Inspired & Motivated” employee or person, you like your work, excel at your duties, and also tend to absorb the duties of others due to your efficiency and effectiveness. As you move up the professional ranks… the can duties double, triple, then compound… causing a slow burn-out you never saw coming! I often share this concept during my Leadership Training Sessions with organizations and teams. To protect ourselves from this burn-out and our righteous frustration we must know what tasks to give away as we ascend, why you’re giving it away, what your new job is and what you’re now actually getting paid to do, and who to give it to… matching the task with your people’s superpower. I wish I knew this seemingly simple process years ago when I was elevated to a position of leadership… and although this process sounds simple enough; it doesn’t touch the surface of the hardest part that will prove to impact the Leadership & Work/Life Harmony the most… the anxiety that comes after handing the tasks away!
As a leader, you know the feeling! You’ve decided to delegate or you’ve been urged to delegate to lighten your load or prepare for your next promotion; you properly delegate the tasks following the What, Why, and Who… and then… the anxiety sets in! You can’t stop thinking about the task, the process or completion of the task isn’t happening fast enough or good enough, they aren’t doing it as you did it… so, to stop the tornado of thoughts in your head and reduce your anxiety… you jump back in, begin to micro-manage, and become more involved in the tasks instead of leading the people that DO the tasks. Sound familiar? So, what to do to handle this anxiety?
Before you delegate tasks away, it helps to know what you plan to do with your new free time. Some leaders use it to travel, for golf, more time with the family, and /or an opportunity to launch the organization and mission into the next phase! This is Evolving Acts! It helps significantly to have an idea and plan of what you’ll focus on after the delegation process; allowing you to evolve yourself, the mission, and the organization while doing your people that are now doing your old tasks. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself back in the weeds. Every employee loves a leader that’ll roll up their sleeves and get dirty with the team… and as a leader, I hope you do that in times of crisis but that’s not where you live!
Remember, it’s hard to lead a team when you’re doing everything yourself and it’s hard to motivate a team that’s used to doing the minimum and depending on you to solve every problem! It’s helped me to remember… leaders don’t do old tasks; they do their people that do those old tasks. Knowing what your people want to get out of working with you and for you, knowing their dreams (inside and outside of work), speaking their professional language, sharing the vision and expectation of the project or organization, and providing purpose and value for your people and teams is a great starting point!
The White-Knuckle Commencement!
Here’s where the rubber meets the road… the real test of your leadership! You’ve delegated the tasks, you feel relieved but empty or a bit uneasy, and the process is not going as smooth as it was when you were doing the tasks. This is not the time to roll up your sleeves and jump back in! So, what to do?
- Process Your Anxiety – It’s likely we are anxious simply because we’re used to doing said task and feel naked without it. You know how to do the tasks, how to best be productive, get immediate rewards… perhaps the reward is feeling needed, accomplished, and busy; as your new Evolving Acts will take time to produce these same feelings… but are necessary for the growth of the team and organization.
The hard truth is… delegating tasks can go smoothly and feel like a relief. More likely, it’s going to hit a few hiccups… as you will have to teach first, let your people manage and lead through the problems, you allow them to brainstorm solutions instead of YOU fixing everything, and allow them to do things their way to get to the same outcome or better! The process may dip for a bit, as your team works to find their bearings, before it takes off and soars!
- Check-In – You may not be able to help the feelings of anxiety as you’re in the midst of white-knuckling… that’s ok and you don’t have to hide it… however, you must not micro-manage it either. Reveal what you’re experiencing to your people and develop a plan that makes sense. It may sound like this, “This is a hard task for me to give up; I’ve enjoyed doing it and I know it works. I’m sure you’re going to do a great job (or have been going a great job) and I want to stay out of your way to let you do it and be available if you have any questions moving forward. So that I’m not being a micro-manager, does it make sense we have regular 1-on-1 Meetings (perhaps weekly at first or whatever you decide “regular” is) to hear what you like about the task, what you’d fine-tune, and any questions you have to best more forward?
This expresses your “White-Knuckling” Experience professionally and with a plan to deescalate you and not pester them… a win-win! I had this same conversation several times as I handed over tasks I was good at, developed, worked, and significantly propelled my business forward. It was like handing over my baby, getting a new baby, and no longer seeing the first baby… I didn’t like it! However, I knew it was necessary to take my business, my vision, and my impact to the next level. I’ll never forget, I was hosting my You Evolving Now Podcast and my guest, Jamey Rootes, President of the Houston Texans, simply said, “What got you here, won’t get you here”… meaning what got you to the level you are now… won’t be the same thing that takes you to the next level. Without appropriately delegating tasks and working through the “White-Knuckle” you will stay right where you are. This leads us to the third and final key!
Do Your People
A huge part of leadership is not only knowing what to do and which way to go… it’s also “Doing Your People”; being a source of influence, impact, and protection. As a leader, we do that first by exhibiting great personal leadership! How you carry yourself, the language you choose to use, the connections you choose to make, being a willing teacher and communicator, sharing the vision, the expectations, rules, and being consistent in our follow-through. It’s amazing how much more your people will do with you, for you, and forgive about you when they enjoy and respect your personal leadership!
Other ways to “Do Your People” are varied; know their top two professional languages and choose to speak them… some are Recognition & Affirmation, some are Incentives, Flexibility, and so forth. I explain this further in my Leader’s 7. Be sure to follow-through with your pre-set 1-on-1 Meetings; meshing their professional goals and questions with your knowledge and plans to enhance their Leadership & Work/Life Harmony.
Lastly, focus on “Construction Talk”. As a leader, speak positively about your job, your team, your people, and the tasks it requires to pull it all off. What you say, impacts how you think, then how you feel, then what you do, and finally the consequences… either positive or negative. Build-Up your people in front of them and away from them… as positive gossip travels just like negative gossip; not as fast, but it still travels! When people hear the boss, the co-worker, etc. speaking positively… they want to know more about this place to work, this boss, this person, and are attracted to your leadership and the organization!
“It’s hard to lead a team when you’re doing everything yourself and it’s hard to motivate a team that’s used to doing the minimum and depending on you to solve every problem… Be Mindful!” – Andre Young
Written by: Andre Young
Enhance Leadership and Work/Life Harmony in your Organization, your Leaders, Employees, and Teams with Andre Young’s Speaking Engagements, Evolve & Lead Training Programs (on-site, online, or virtual), and1-on-1 Growth Sessions! www.youevolvingnow.com