When Efficiency Backfires

25 Mar

(I’m an independent go-getter self-starter so I’m preaching to myself on this one…)

1.  Preparing for every contingency yourself doesn’t allow others a chance to succeed.
If you assign tasks, but then show up having done all the tasks “just in case” others don’t, they will soon catch on.  It’s demoralizing and disheartening to not be trusted and their work ethics will suffer.  It’s a vicious cycle: prepare in case they don’t, they stop preparing because they know you will cover for them.

2.  Preparing for every contingency yourself doesn’t allow others a chance to fail.
It sounds funny to say “a chance to fail” but really – failure is important.  You learn more about yourself and about succeeding from failing. You learn more about how to help others through failures. You learn how to ask for help.  Leaders learn about their followers by seeing how they handle failure and setbacks.  Followers learn about their leaders by seeing how they handle failures and setbacks.  Whether you are a leader or a follower, ensuring that there is no chance (or very little chance) for failure is not helpful.

3.  Preparing for every contingency yourself lowers your expectations of others.
If you expect others to not follow through, you will stop being surprised when they don’t.  Instead of feeling upset and seeking them out to understand why and how you can help (time management, too much on their plate, not understanding the vision, etc. ) you will shrug your shoulders and say “I knew it.  Good thing I did all the work myself.” This will foster an attitude of independence, self-reliance, not trusting others, not expecting good things from people.

Your followers need you to have expectations for them.  They need stretch goals (but ones they are capable of meeting) to increase their self-confidence. They need space to fail (but you to be encouraging and help them back up).  They need to know that you expect great work from them because you believe in them.

It is much easier to discourage someone than encourage them.  And the negatives are remembered far longer than the positives.  Don’t let your own efficiency get in the way of helping others succeed.

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