This has been a week of contradictions.
They have come in the form of the words “No” and it’s counterpart “Yes”.
“No” appeared in the form of boundaries; setting and restating.
As teams of people working towards a common goal, we operate in a way akin to breathing; we support each other between the energy-full versus the energy-empty times.
But what happens when that support turns into continual compromise and picking-up-the-slack? And to make things a little trickier… what happens when it’s your boss or leader for whom you are doing this?
As an example, you are a group of people for whom your boss charges you with certain tasks, some of which require their input and support at a governance level, yet it is not forthcoming, nor do they make themselves available to support this mahi. Do you think you might look incompetent in the eyes of others if you don’t get the task completed and forge ahead hoping you have included what is needed? Do you become the person who morphs and turns yourself inside-out with the worry of responsibility? Do you say nothing? Or do you become the behaviour enabler?
In her book “Multipliers and Diminishers”, Liz Wiseman speaks of ways in which leaders can accidentally diminish those they lead; albeit with the best of intentions. I would like to add a further type of Accidental Diminisher to her six; The “Distributive Defector”. This is the leader who operates from a distributive leadership model, who wants to empower those they lead, but doesn’t give them the information, support or guidance they need to do the job. Instead, they ‘dump and run’. They may do this with the best of intent in wanting to empower their team, however they are totally oblivious to the negative ripple-effect this has around them.
So in this instance, through their lack of voice and respectful challenge of the situation, the team-members become the enablers of this behaviour.
This is where the word “No” comes in. We need to bring-out our big-person britches and address the situation.
First begin by identifying what’s in your circle of control (remember, I spoke of this last week), then what’s in your circle of influence, and finally the things you have no control over. This lets you see what mahi you can continue-with; the stuff you don’t need leader-input from, and what support and information you need from your leader (or others) to be able to move forward. Now communicate this need in a respectful and factual manner.
If you continue to bend-over-backwards and turn-yourself inside-out for things that are not yours to own or in your locus of control, then your wellbeing and professionalism will be affected. By that I mean, you will internalise the angst, and you may even look incompetent in front of your peers or other leaders if you go-in half-informed and prepared.
…. So lesson # 1: Big-britches on and say “Hell No” …nicely 😉
“Yes” appeared in the form of a good friend of mine. She has taken the mantle of saying YES to most things she is invited to do. In the past couple of weeks she has listened to live music, laughed herself silly at a comedy night, hit the bright lights of Auckland and danced with the beautiful ladies at Caluzzi, and made a big decision for her health…all by saying “Yes!”.
I know it can be easy to say “No” to requests ahead of excuses such as “I’ve got work to do”, “I can’t, it’s a ‘school-night'”, or “I have to clean my oven!”. But what would happen if you said “yes” just a little more?
Begin by noticing how many times you say “No” when you could be saying “Yes”.
… So lesson number 2: Try saying “Hell YES” a little more and watch your world begin to sparkle!