Here’s part five of chapter three of my book, A Day of Hope. If you missed the first four sections, you can follow the links below.
FIND SOMEONE TO DO THE REST
Do what you do best, and then find someone else to do the rest.
Once you discover your own strengths, find someone to do everything else that you’re not good at. Successful leaders find ways to shed all the tasks which they’re not good at so they can focus on the things they are good at.
Do what you do well and allow others to come around you and do what they do well too. Your job as the leader is to always be casting vision and telling others what needs to be done. That way they can rally around you and jump in to help your cause. People can’t help if they don’t know what is on the to-do list. When you’re constantly casting vision for the things that need to be done, it makes it easy for people to say, “Hey, I know how to do that!.”
I remember early on in the process of getting A Day of Hope started I made a presentation to a class at California State University, Stanislaus where a girl came up afterwards and offered to volunteer. I had done my homework and had a list of several things coming up where I needed help, including creating flyers to recruit volunteers. Since I was prepared and knew what needed to be done, I was able to tell her ways she could volunteer. And out of that list, she picked the one where she could say, “Hey, I can do that!” To this day she still helps with flyers.
Some people might call this delegation, but I believe this takes it a step further than delegation. Delegation is simply saying, “This needs to be done, and you need to do it.” When working with volunteers you can’t really delegate much because you don’t have any authority over anyone.
People don’t have to volunteer, and they don’t have to do anything you say. Volunteers want to help because they want to make a difference and have fun in the process. Your role as the leader is to share the things that need to be done in a way that your volunteers can say, “I can do that.”
If you can’t find someone to do something or take on an area that you’re not good at, then you need to evaluate if it really needs to be done. Is there a way to get around it? Is there a way to do something else? Is there a way to avoid it altogether? Can it wait a little longer?
I think its very important that you talk about your weaknesses because it allows others to know where you need help. This is very contrary to what many people believe.
It’s conventional wisdom to think you should hide your weaknesses so people don’t think you’re incompetent. I disagree. Whether you say it or not, the people who volunteer with you are going to know what you’re good at and what you’re not good at. So why not talk about it? And while you talk about your weak areas, ask for them to help you in those areas.
If they see that you’re weak in an area but you haven’t actually admitted it, they might hesitate to offer a helping hand thinking that you believe you can do it on your own. But when you say, “Hey team, I’m not good with marketing, and we need someone who can step up to carry the responsibility of promoting A Day of Hope,” that makes it ok for someone to say, “Hey, I like marketing, and I wanna help.”
This takes confidence and security. In sharing the work that needs to be done, you have to learn to let go of control and allow others to do things on their own. Yes, you might feel that you could do it better, and the task won’t be done exactly as you had envisioned it. But that’s the thing with leadership—you have to allow people to work under their own authority and responsibility. You’ll also learn that it means they are going to gain a little bit of credit for the work they do. As the leader you can’t keep all the credit for yourself. The more people you have helping, the more credit will be shared among the people helping you.
If you do learn to let go of these tasks and allow others to do what they do well while you do what you do well, I think you’ll be surprised at the results.