As mothers, daughters, friends, and wives, _______ (add your own role here) we are used to doing. Someone has a crisis and we rush in cape blowing in the wind and save the day. For some of us, it doesn’t have to be a crisis. A carefully delivered hint of a want is whispered our way and we jump in. That’s just what we do right? The thoughtful, caring, selfless, overburdened, overworked, often taken for granted, and eventually burnt out women that we are.
This super woman syndrome carries over into the workplace and is one sure way to minimize your opportunities for advancement. Take note that as you do, do, and do whenever a crisis arises … it’s the folks that have mastered the ability to coordinate those who do, that get promoted. This is a where words speak louder than actions: brilliant women understand the value of delegating.
Delegating tasks to other team members doesn’t mean passing off trivial, grunt work to others on your team. It means leading a collaborative effort to complete a task. Consider Lorraine, a bright, talented project manager. She comes up with a fantastic solution to improve project documentation for the entire team. Everyone is thrilled with the idea, and they are even more thrilled when Lorraine says she’ll work out all the details and come back with a plan for everyone at next month’s meeting. Lorraine being the diligent, hard worker that she is struggles with handling her regular workload and trying to come up with a plan by herself. As a result, the next month leaves her stressed. She’s had little time for her family, her friends or herself and the overall quality of her work has suffered as well.
Now what if Lorraine had taken the road less traveled by many of us who are used to doing everything?
What if instead of volunteering to complete the project solo—Lorraine had elicited help from other team members? By delegating, Lorraine would have shown that she is able to lead, collaborate, communicate, and make decisions. She would have demonstrated the skills of a successful leader, giving her manager a glimpse of her potential. It’s those glimpses into the value you could potentially bring to your team and company that increase your visibility.
Why don’t we delegate?
Myth: You can’t trust that someone else will show up, be responsible, do their fair share?
Truth: Unless you work with a completely dysfunctional team, chances are that your team members are dependable
Myth: If we delegate to folks, we will seem like we are bossy or being the dreaded “B” word.
Truth: Someone has to take charge. When someone else on your team delegates part of a project or enlist your help on an assignment—do you feel like their being bossy—or are do you enjoy being respected as someone with something to contribute, with a skill that was sought out. Give other people on your team a chance to experience the same thing at your request.
Myth: If I do it all myself, I’ll get all the recognition.
Truth: You may get the credit, but not the promotion. While you were toiling away, another employee was building relationships, doing the tasks that focused on their strengths, and working efficiently by pooling the strengths of others instead of taking it all on themselves.
What we lose?
- By choosing to do everything yourself, here’s what you miss out on:
- The opportunity to assume a leadership role: You can’t demonstrate your ability to lead a team if all you are responsible for is you.
- The chance to change your professional image with colleagues: if you are thought of as the go to person, the crisis handler for your team- you are creating a role that will be hard to move away from. Who wants to lose the person who handles every crisis through a promotion.
- The chance to show your other strengths to your manager: Unless you want the official title PowerPoint guru, you need the opportunity to showcase other strengths to your manager. Especially if official opportunities for leading projects or teams are few and far between.
- The opportunity to build better relationships with your team members.
Unless it is your intention to stay in your current role, you will need to master the art of effective delegation. Here’s what brilliant women know: sometimes words speak louder than actions.