By R. Christopher Haines, President and CEO
Easy for me to say. I’m not in your shoes. But I’ve been there. The big project all comes down to you. The success or failure rides on your shoulders, and you don’t want to let anyone down. But there’s a lot of work. The project might have many phases or be spread over multiple years. Your company might not have the resources or knowledge to assist you, so you take it all on yourself. Or even worse, maybe you aren’t the best delegator.
Hey, I’m not knocking you. Delegating isn’t always easy. It took me years to figure out why I needed to delegate and how to do it. I’m a workaholic. You might be, too. And it’s hard for workaholics to delegate. Your approach to everything that comes up is to do it yourself. Trusting others is difficult when it’s ultimately your neck on the line for the outcome of the project.
I’ve seen the inability to delegate take down some really good people. Some of them thought they were doing those around them a favor by doing all of the work. Staying late and working long hours so others didn’t have to. But what they failed to see is that others wanted to be involved. Not allowing them to contribute unintentionally sent a message to others they were not qualified to be a part of the project. Even worse, others thought they were not included because they couldn’t be trusted to do a good job.
For your own sanity, and to help ensure the success of the project, get some help. Maybe you already know how to delegate, but if not, learn. Determine whether this help can come from inside your organization or if you need to go outside. There’s a really good chance that, within your organization, the people around you already have too much to do. It’s not that uncommon. Many companies are doing more with less or can’t find the people they need.
If it ends up that you have to get outside help, it can work. You can find people that you can rely on and trust. Then learn to use them to benefit you and your project. You have to delegate tasks to them. You have to trust them. Transform part of your role from doing to directing. Even though you’re not performing the work, it can still be done the way you expect it to be done. But your communication of expectations must be clear and concise. Otherwise, those you are asking for help might go down paths of their own.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, or your project is struggling because you have too much to do, get some help. It may be an adjustment at first, but you might be amazed at the benefits in the long run.