One of the hardest things to do is to say no. I’ve always suffered from the need to please everyone around me. Not that I want everyone to like me, but I want to be the one people can rely on.
Being a ‘people pleaser’ means you take on more than what one should. It also means that when you are willing to take on these tasks, you eventually begin to resent the people around you for not recognizing the amount of work or pressure they put on you.
Saying No and Maintaining Relationships
Saying no is critical to your ability to be productive and maintain the relationships around you. It’s important for your children or your employees to learn when to depend on you and when they should depend on themselves.
Proper delegation can ease your stress and build others. I’m sure that you’ve heard the age old adages before:
- “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”
- “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime”
As a parent, I’ve always focused my parenting styles on what I thought was the best way to prepare my children for adulthood. I realized a few years ago this mindset also relates to my employees. Part of servant leadership is preparing employees around me to take my job one day, or someone else’s within the organization.
Be in the Right Room
“If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” I want my children, coworkers, and even my colleagues to be smarter than me. How else does anyone grow?
As a leader, I try to make people better, but I’ve learned how harmful improper delegation and the refusal to have difficult conversations can be.
Here’s an example: when you give instructions to someone, the hope is they will follow those instructions and produce whatever outcome you desire. It should be that simple, but it’s not. It’s not that simple because we’re humans, and we’re complicated creatures — complicated individuals.
How I perceive instructions may not be how you perceive them. It’s easy to get mad when the result doesn’t match your expectations, and a lot of times, leaders or even parents, just revert to the adage; “if you want something done right, you might as well do it yourself”. Wrong.
Have the Dialogue and Get It Right
There must be an inner and outer dialogue when someone doesn’t meet your expectations. The internal dialogue needs to be a conversation that you have with yourself — a reality check.
- Did you provide clear and precise instructions?
- Did you verify that the employee understood the instructions as provided?
- Did you allow time for clarification if it was needed?
The outer dialogue is the conversation you need to have with the employee to find out where things went wrong — from their perspective. This is the hard part because you have to be willing to accept their feedback, regardless of the potential for it to be negative.
Still, if the outer dialogue with the employee doesn’t happen, you can almost 100% be sure they will fail again. Either way, the result was unexpected and needed to be addressed.
No one will ever do something exactly the way you would do it, obviously, they aren’t you. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t capable. Just like we’ve discussed learning styles in previous blogs, we just understand things differently.
We have to be willing to improve ourselves, and equally as important, we have to be ready to help those around us improve. I think you can handle it.
Last modified: June 2, 2022
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