“Mommy, let me do it by myself!”
That’s okay some of the time. Like, when we are learning to tie our shoes, when we need to practice, or when someone is smothering us.
Most of us do want to be self-sufficient, self-reliant, capable, right?
But sometimes we really do need help, and many of us have a problem with asking for and letting people help.
I admit I’m not the greatest at asking for help. Oh, I have so many reasons, and they sound good. I don’t want to impose. I know that they’re really busy. How will it look if I can’t handle it myself? Or this insidious one: it’s not really important enough to spend my “I need help” credits on, I have to save them for a real emergency.
There’s the asking and then there’s the letting. Sometimes people offer to help without even being asked. Do you have a problem with letting people help?
Asking for and accepting help may seem like it’s solely in the personal realm, but it isn’t. It also affects our leadership. It’s completely related to our ability to delegate.
To be clear, delegating is NOT just giving other people work to get it off of your plate. It is not giving away the shit you don’t want to do.
Effective delegating requires that you first decide the right things to delegate, and to be aware of why you are making that choice. Is it to give someone a chance to spread their wings, learn new skills, take on a challenge, feel more fulfilled? Is it because this is something that you need someone else to be able to do? Is it because you genuinely need help with the task, project, workload. (Hint: Yes to any of these is a good answer.)
You should also look at why you choose not to delegate something. Is it because you’re afraid you’ll be less secure if someone else knows how to do it? Because they might do a better job? Because it’s too hard to explain? Because you feel guilty? Because they might want to do it differently than you do it? (Hint: Yes to any of these bears examination!)
Having clear criteria for what you can and cannot delegate (and why) is crucial for both developing your staff and being effective in your own job. I suggest you take factors like risk, mitigation, growth, succession planning, and diversity into your decision making criteria. A nice guiding principal might be: unless I absolutely have to be the one to do it, anything is open for me to consider delegating.
And, of course, delegating doesn’t mean just saying “here you go!” There are ways to effectively delegate, which is a future blog topic.
How you ask for and accept help is going to give you a lot of insights into how you delegate!
In the meantime, remember these things: You are loved. We are all loved. Let’s all be kind. And in all things – progress, not perfection!
Love and light,