This is one of the topics that as a leader, I’ve struggled with the most. As a perfectionist in recovery, I never thought anyone could do anything with the same quality and attention to detail as I did and I literally drove myself to the ground, trying to do more than it was humanly possible, and this had an impact on my ability to perform.
I think that every person that strives for excellence in all that they do (I prefer not to use the term overachiever) struggles at some point or another and in different degrees of this issue.
Yet, one of the best things about building the right team the right way, is that you know the people in your team well enough to be able to tap into their strengths and expertise and delegate to them the tasks in which they are better than you without feeling the anxiety of being perceived as a failure or as an imposter.
The game changer is to always surround yourself with people that are smarter than you, that’s right, try to always be the dumbest in the room. The capabilities, knowledge and experience of my teams are second to none. I cannot pretend to know how to do what they do to the level in which I can do it myself, but I can help them in reaching levels of excellence that they didn’t know they had in them and that is what makes us a good match.
The strongest teams I know are the ones that benefit from each other’s knowledge and that have each other’s backs unconditionally. If you are willing to go “to the mattresses” for them, they will learn to do the same for you.
Yes, I love The Godfather saga!
Learning how to delegate, based on strategy, tapping into each other’s strengths is very different from delegating out of laziness and whether you like it or not, the team will eventually figure out your motives. Lazy leaders tend to glorify idle busyness, while pretending that some tasks are beneath them.
Learn to walk the talk. Remember, the team doesn’t owe you a damn thing – teamwork is a two-way street and a leadership title should never be consider a “get out of jail free” card
One of the main things that has allowed me to earn the respect of my teams to a level in which they consider me their leader not based on the title I carry, but based on acceptance and trust is that I have never been afraid to roll up my sleeves and work alongside them. But not for the glory of saying I did it, or for my boss to notice my extra effort…Absolutely NO! but because they needed help, and I have their back, plain and simple. That is what being part of a team means.
In the words of Ken Blanchard, “servant leadership is all about making the goals clear and then rolling your sleeves up and doing whatever it takes to help people win. In that situation, they don’t work for you; you work for them.”
Thanks for reading and God bless,