Bossy. Feisty. Assertive. I have been called so many versions of bossy I can’t even count them but that’s fine by me. It’s all the same really, I know what what I want, I’m not afraid to voice my opinion and I have strong leadership tendencies…at least that’s what I’m telling myself. I saw a quote recently on International Women’s Day saying something along the lines of: “Instead of calling little girls bossy, we should celebrate their leadership skills.” What a great thought!
Anyways, this past weekend we took on the challenge of painting our new condo from floor to ceiling. Now I have never painted (or done any other home improvement for that matter) and I was so happy to have my boyfriend’s parents there to help! On the Friday everyone was exchanging the typical, “any plans for the weekend?” and I proudly told everyone that I was going to be painting. Every. Single. Person. Scoffed and joked at the thought of me doing manual labour. One person even said, “no, you won’t be painting, you’ll be delegating.” Oh, was I proud!?
Some people may have been offended by this comment but I thought to myself, wow these people must think that I am a strong enough leader to coordinate the activities and manage the project as the work gets done. Delegating is not a bad thing! It’s actually a very important thing and can be one of the biggest challenges leaders face. If you take on too much, hoard work and don’t let things go then you will never be able to excel in your own work.
In most careers you are awarded for being technically excellent and detail oriented, but only up until a certain point. You will work your way up to a leadership position by being good at what you do, but then when you are a leader it is time to let all of that go. You must delegate the detailed work to people who are focused on the technical work. Then it is your turn to start leading and managing the business, which is very very different than being a technical expert. Actually often times the two do not line up at all.
Learning to delegate is an important aspect of career development. Seeing the big picture rather than focusing on the details.
The best way to do this is to teach and guide others and then trust that people are capable of doing their job and that you can step back and focus on what you are meant to be doing.
The painting went extraordinarily well, and I did end up painting, it was actually quite meditative, but I’m definitely better at delegating!