How The Best Leaders Avoid Doing Everyone Else’s Job

A leader I was coaching was always complaining about how busy he was, how he never had enough hours in the day and was always feeling ragged and running late. We worked together to explore how he was spending his time, and we discovered that he was literally doing everyone else’s job on his team. I told him that if he wanted to be a great leader—and reclaim his time—he would have to learn to stop doing other people’s jobs.

Here are some of the mindsets and strategies the best leaders use to avoid (or overcome) this destructive habit:

They allow others to showcase their abilities. An important part of leadership is helping your people grow and develop, and the best leaders allow others to showcase their abilities and expertise without getting in the way. They know that the best way to boost someone’s self-esteem is to trust them to accomplish great things.

They know how to say no. Saying no is a key skill in the workplace, but too often people find it difficult because they’re afraid of being perceived as negative or not a team player. But everyone, including leaders, needs the ability and freedom to say no.

They how to delegate. Too many leaders want to control everything around them, but the best understand the power of delegation. If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself; if you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.

They set boundaries. Effective leaders set consistent healthy boundaries and roles with their team. Of course they pitch in when an extra pair of hands is required, but they know that the best use of their time is being a strategic leader who works hard every day for the good of the team .

 They know their limits. Leaders who don’t try to do more than they can effectively take on are demonstrating for their team how to maintain a good balance of responsibility. They understand the strength of their example as a leader.

They know they don’t have to fix everything. Some leaders think their job is to solve everyone’s problems, but that’s not true—or even possible. You can listen to problems without jumping in and trying to fix them. The best leaders listen and empower others to come up with their own solutions. Unless your help is truly required, let them know you believe in them and that’s why you’re getting out of their way.

The best leaders have the ability to inspire confidence in others. Their words and actions are focused on helping those around them grow and achieve. If you stay focused on that principle, you’ll never have to worry about trying to do other people’s jobs.

Lead from within: Be the kind of leader who allows others to learn, grow, and demonstrate what they can do, and people will always strive to bring their best.

 


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The Leadership Gap
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness


After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

2 Responses to “How The Best Leaders Avoid Doing Everyone Else’s Job”

  1. Kevin Gibson

    12. Apr, 2021

    Thanks for your post Lolly. I battled the idea of wanting to do all the work a lot when I moved into my current role. My boss had to tell me to stop trying to do everyone’s work for them and focus on mine. We have a restaurant at one of the properties I manage. I had a server who let me know that she does not like people getting in their way. She appreciates that I ask if I can help before helping. It made me think that some people take help as an insult. It makes them feel they are not doing their job. I also believe this reminds me of the saying “Show a man to fish; feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish, feed him for a lifetime”. Thank you very much for your posts and all other posts. I find them so enlightening.

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    • lollydaskal

      20. Apr, 2021

      Kevin, I say this all the time, “Show a man to fish; feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish, feed him for a lifetime”. Thanks for your comment it is very insightful.

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