Are You Using Your Team


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It’s no secret that the so-called Great Resignation has created a lot of turnover and turmoil for businesses, large and small.  Well, we’re no exception.  We went through our spate of team changes.  And I don’t mind saying, it wasn’t a short or particularly easy time.

Everyone was doubling and tripling up on work.  I was obsessing every day about how to get everything done without driving my existing team into the ground.  And most importantly, how and where to find good, solid people to bring in to help the company continue to grow.

Well, eventually it all happened.  Now, first off I have to say – my Staffing Director (we are an HR company after all) – well, she is amazing.  Not only did she find wonderful people, under very difficult circumstances – but she found folks who have endlessly added to our culture.  They’re smart.  They’re experienced.  And they’re fun to boot.  I’m very lucky, and very grateful.

But, sometimes I still find myself feeling overwhelmed, and like I’ll never get on top of the work again.  For a while, I couldn’t figure it out.  We were staffed up – why didn’t things feel easier?

Oh sure, there was a training period when everyone was getting up to speed – but we’re thorough that now.  So why was I still feeling so under water.

Well, I final realized that, as with many things, it was me.  I was the problem.  It was a mindset issue.

I had operated so long in survival mode, just putting my head down and ‘doing’; that I had forgotten how to let go and really delegate.  My ‘get it done’ muscle just wouldn’t stop twitching.

And, on top of that, everything on the list was just a wash in my head.  Don’t forget to do that, did you do this, what about that person – did you call them?

All this really surprised me, because before all this, I had become excellent at delegating; and getting to a place where I could focus on the work that was really for me.  The work of growing and developing the business.

Honestly, I couldn’t believe I was facing this old demon – I had done all this work before.  So, I’m here to tell you, conquering this problem isn’t a set it and forget it issue.  It will creep back into your business life before you know it.  But you can stop things in their tracks – just follow this simple framework:

First – see yourself.  How are you feeling.  Do you feel creative and open most of the time, or burdened and overwhelmed?  If you’re feeling burdened, what is weighing you down.  What project, or task, or issue.

…I had operated so long in survival mode, just putting my head down and ‘doing’; that I had forgotten how to let go and really delegate.  My ‘get it done’ muscle just wouldn’t stop twitching.

Now ask yourself why you haven’t assigned it to someone else.  Now this one is tricky – because when I did this part, I had all sorts of (what I thought were) reasonable explanations.

I’m in the middle of it, so it’s easier if I just finish it up.  Well, the client knows me so I should take care of this part.  It’s easier and faster for me to get this done this time – I’ll give it to the team next time.

Well, when you say it one after the other, you can see how silly those excuses sound.  You’re in the middle of it – when won’t you be in the middle.  And no, it’s not easier if you just finish it up, because you shouldn’t be touching it in the first place.  Hand it off – as quickly as possible.

Oh, that’s right, the client knows you so you should take care of it.  Well, the client won’t ever get a chance to establish a relationship with your team member if you never give them a chance to work together.

And my favorite – it’s easier and faster for you to get it done this time, and you’ll give it up next time.  Well, the secret is – next time never comes.  You just keep doing it – so the team can’t get good at it, and you can’t get rid of it.

Try this – remember what you should be doing every day.  It can be so much easier to change your behavior when you’re moving toward something vs. away from something.  So, move toward the leader you are meant to be.  The leader that focuses on moving the company forward toward the vision and , leading and developing the team to carry out that vision.

And, don’t just think about it, start doing it.  For me it was getting back to writing.  So I made it a point to have a writing session twice a week.  It turned out I enjoyed it so much it pushed me further into my leader role.

Now once you remember who you are, and what you should be doing, it’s time to clear the decks.

Sit down and create a plan for all the undone things.  That’s right, just scoop them up into a list (I love Asana for things like this).  Just go free form, don’t try to organize at first, just let everything flow freely from your brain to the page.

So, one of your employees just told you that she’s pregnant.  Feeling overwhelmed, with no idea where to start?  After all, HR just got dumped on your plate.  It’s not your zone of genius, and you don’t want it to be.

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Then, and only then, you can organize them into groups.  But these aren’t your average groups.  Nope, I want you to organize them into groups under the person you’re going to give them to.  That’s right, I want each and every task to sit under some else’s name.  You may not assign anything to yourself – not at first.

Once you’ve assigned EVERYTHING.  Then you can go back and carefully look at the lists, and take back anything that only you can do.  That does not mean, the ‘only I can do it because the client knows me’ things.  That means, things like recording the video – because it’s your face, so only you can do it.

Your list should be the shortest of all, by far.

And finally, talk to the team.  Go over their lists with them.  Find out if they have questions or need more information.  Have them come up with a timeline (remember, things that aren’t measured aren’t managed).  And again, I say have THEM come up with a timeline.  And then report back on their progress.

Then, dive headlong into the things that are rightly on your plate.  Work that marketing plan.  Develop that new service.  Create that new strategy.

Focus on your responsibilities, and let the team take care of the rest.  And don’t worry – that ‘get it done’ muscle will stop twitching sooner than you think.

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