Helping Other Talented People to Help You

Are you (or someone you know) having ongoing career challenges that to go beyond, “It’s a tough business environment these days and everybody feels stressed”?

Do you feel as if you have so much work you can never get even the important things accomplished? Worse yet, does it seem you can’t get those around you – even members of your own team – to cooperate, contribute, and do their part in moving projects and deliverables forward?

Have these types of challenges followed you through multiple positions, even multiple companies?

If you are answering “Yes” to most or all of these questions, it may be you have problems letting other people help you be successful.

Getting in Your Own Way

I can look back through my career and recognize people who constantly made it difficult, if not impossible, for others to provide the assistance they so desperately needed to be more successful. Some of these individuals expressed frustration at the apparent inability to move projects ahead. Most, however, did not recognize how they personally created barriers to their teams making progress.

Working inside a corporation for an extended time, it was much more manageable to work around or avoid these types of people to get things done. Now, working with corporate clients from the outside looking in, we typically have a relatively small group of client contacts with whom we work on projects. When one of these contacts cannot get out of their own way to let a project advance, we generally have very few options to work around them since you cannot just stop interacting with your own client!

As a result, I have been thinking a lot more about ways to help someone realize they have a problem allowing others to help them and proper ways to coach and mentor someone through improving.

Signs There is a Problem

There are several signs indicating someone has a problem in letting those around them provide much needed assistance. These include:

  • Churn in staff and/or team members.
  • A personal feeling of being over-worked.
  • A chronic inability to accomplish goals.
  • A sense of having to juggle too many details across too many projects.
  • Repeated lack of knowledge or awareness in who to involve or how to involve others in moving a project forward.

If you see these signs in yourself or others, you owe it to all those involved to attempt to improve.

What Can Be Done to Improve Performance

Here are 12 behaviors to address, all of which can let others help you, as a boss or leader, be more effective:

  1. Identify your strengths, weaknesses, and where you need help.
  2. Put people in place who are stronger than you are where you are weak.
  3. Don’t hold or delay projects too long and delegate them too late.
  4. Hold yourself accountable for hitting deadlines.
  5. Understand and articulate the objective without specifying how it should be done.
  6. Share your framework for decision making along with sharing other vital information that allows people to act.
  7. Allow people to meaningfully use their talents without your overly close supervision.
  8. Surrender appropriate responsibility and ownership for an effort to the people who have been stepping up to contribute.
  9. Be responsive when your team DOES ask for input.
  10. Be open to and listen to ideas from others.
  11. Speak when your perspective is needed and others still have time to act. After that, forever hold your peace.
  12. Make a decision and stick with it.

None of these behaviors should be that difficult to improve upon in your work style. While getting better at them takes determination, as you improve, you’ll reap tremendous benefits as those around you are freed up to perform better for you.