Wednesday, August 24, 2011

what it takes to be a leader?

some days I feel so grossely inadequate, to carry a label that I can't fulfill.  I carry a weight whether imagined or literal that burdens my every decision and choice.  From simple to complex, they are mine to bear.  How should I answer to that comment? How should I handle this situation? Should I go to lunch or eat at my desk? Do I let that one slide or handle it swiftly?

Today, I came across another lesson and eventhough, my mind tells me to look at things in the correct perspective, my heart is burdened by me caring too much.  I love what I do, I love to talk, I love to win over, I love to be approachable, I love to resolve the ENORMOUS CRISIS at hand, whether its, "I want a red balloon, not the blue one", or "I just got the message now and I do not understand why my appointment has been cancelled if I made this appointment 6 months ago, and no that new appointment time will NOT work".  I love to be the go to person, I love to solve the pending doom.  I love to also be the teacher, mentor, the closer, the healer.  (The latter two always seem to bite me in the butt more often than not).
 But back to the lesson.  Today, I was in the verge of new territory for me... delegating... that word, that task, that job in the job that must be done.  Yeah, well one of my new staff members asked where they could find name labels for some charts that were unlabeled.  I said, you will have to wait until I print them up.... "But, if you want to print them up, I can show how to do it",   I eagerly thought this was my chance, my chance to prove that I was able and willing to DELEGATE this task to a willing team member. So, I attached my file to an email, emailed the document to the availible computer, open document, set the document up and proceeded to show the team member how to enter the information, etc. I am letting go. Balance. Delegating. Good.  After awhile, even I had forgot about it, the team member came up inquiring on the label stickers. Oh wow! the list was done, the labeling would soon be complete.  I was excited, really excited, the list is in the computer now all it needs to be printed and the labels to be stuck on the charts. One of my job duties was successfully handled by another and the world actually didnt collapse. I am on a roll I thought-Dave and Jon would be proud of me.  Okay, here goes, I gave the label printing paper up and without too much instruction,  mentioned matter of factly, over my shoulder, scurrying back to my desk, "Just be sure you put it in the tray correctly, almost regretting saying it as soon as the words came out.  A few moments later, I see the redden face of the team member back at my desk, wishing I had been more clear on my instruction.  I kindly smile and make sure that I am going to use this opportunity to teach rather than scold and show the team member on how I was taught ;) that all printers, scanner, copiers have a little cheat diagram to look at when placing the correct placement of paper in the tray. We get thru this hurdle yet again victoriously and I leave promptly as to NOT TAKE OVER as my daughter has reminded me that I do- when someone doesnt do things exactly like I want them done- (who me?) I am back at my desk and have several observe that I am AHEAD of the game today, my charts are not piled up, as I really have been practicing BALANCE in the last (2) days with not spreading myself too thin, where I look hurried and hustling, rather than resolving and helping. So the day has gone well, all caught up and making the last few posting of the end of the day.  The loudness of the back office tells me its close to 4:30pm and my evening individual good=bye of the Doctor assures me its quiting time.  Yeah, quitting time, remember that? I obviously DO NOT.  Well, as the crew files in to sign out on the time sheet. I get the most disheartening reminder that I have yet so much to learn. Is it me? The pile handed back to my desk with a sheepish comment which my facial expression must of asked the question that did not come out of my mouth.  But all I heard was: " I didn't finish".  Honestly, It wasn't the fact that they didn't finish sticking the labels on the charts.  I think that the action itself - UNDONE is not what felt like the punch in my gut, it was that with 2 to 3 minutes left to quitting time- the initiative to FINISH THE TASK was not even an option for this team member.  I was at a loss for words and choose to remain silent than add insult to injury which apparently was only mine.

 All I could hear in my head was.... and this is why I do not delegate.  I cannot take the agony of failure -once again apparently only mine.  Does it really mean failure to not have taken the couple minutes to finish sticking the labels on?  No, definately not.  But the failure that I couldn't motivate that team member to have WANTED to finish, to complete the task, to stayed the extra 2-3 minutes that it took (me) to complete it.

 The lesson, the lesson... well thats the point NOONE LEARNED A LESSON, Noone, not I, not the team member.  In reviewing this in my mind and now in writing... it all seems jumbled up, but should I responded: "well we have a couple more minutes why don't we complete it together, I'll be happy to help you finish", or maybe, "Okay, well lets make sure we complete this on Friday". 

Why did this affect me so?  Because I care too much?!  Nobody won today.  I sure as heck didn't. Why do I feel like such a failure at times and so inadequately trained to help others care enough to take that "extra step" in doing what they do.  I will not stop, i will not deter because-- because I care too much. May the lesson from Zig and John continue to help me become who I want to be a leader who cares much!

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