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Leadership in two questions

One of my biggest take aways from a recent workshop on leadership was this: I should be asking myself a simple question each time I work on something, “should I be the person doing this?"

This has manifested in me taking this mantra into each interaction with a slight extension, based on the information I shared previously: should I be the one doing this and is there anyone else who can? Coupled with weekly schedule and task reviews at the beginning and end of the week, I have found that at times, I am the only one who can do a given task within my team for now, but the fact that I question it is a step in the right direction.

Additionally, I have had the foresight to stop doing things when I conclude that I should either not be the one doing the task or there are others to whom the task can be assigned. I am picturing it almost as a decision flow chart. Today, I was covering supervision duties for a report who was out on vacation; I delegated one duty to students and got some much needed fresh air to handle another similar task.

I built out a project that I started on Friday (during my doing time) and delegated the project to reports and student workers. Many hands on this project will allow me to focus on the end results instead of the details in between. While in a meeting today, I took on additional tasks and I went through my flow chart and took on a few detail-oriented tasks that someone else could have done, but I took the opportunity to connect with a colleague I haven't chatted with in awhile in the process.

So if you are in a role that affects the work, growth, and capacity of others, perhaps ask yourself these two questions about any given task that may lead to building someone else up:

  1. Should I be the person doing this?
  2. Am I the only person who can at the moment?

If the answer to #1 is no, pause and ask #2. If the answer to #2 is yes, perhaps a well-reasoned follow up is simple: "Why?"