When Stepping Up Blows Up
Accepting challenges lifts careers. But, holding on to them destroys. Learn to challenge others as well as challenging yourself.
Raise your hand and say, “I’ll take that on.” New challenges are opportunities. Challenges that lift careers include:
- Initiatives that impact large segments of organizations. Let others handle departmental challenges. Take on organization-wide opportunities.
- Projects others hate. If you can’t find an organization-wide initiative, tackle projects others avoid.
- Assignments that require teams. Individual performance is good; results through teams are better.
- Community outreach. Head-up giving-back efforts. Philanthropy opens doors. Connect with internal and community leaders.
Accept challenges bigger than yourself. But, share the load or fail. Those good at accepting challenges may be lousy at delegating challenges. Prepare to crash and burn if you can’t share the load.
Delegate – Elevate – Perpetuate
Delegate in ways that elevate performance. Challenge; don’t protect or coddle. Expect team mates to step-up.
Passion to excel motivates you to take on challenges. Career making moments arrive when you feel you’ve taken on too much. Do you pull back and protect or perpetuate success by expecting others to perform?
Stepping up, eventually destroys those who can’t call others to step up.
Has your passion to get ahead or help others caused you to take on too much? Now what?
What suggestions help those good at accepting challenges but weak at giving them?
Challenge strengthen our self
Thanks supriya…tru dat.
Great post Dan! One of your best.
Regular times with a mentor for wise and loving counsel helps bring me out of the clouds and help me get my feet back on the ground.
AA Big Book(paraphrasing) any business not taking a regular inventory is doomed to fail.
Found it interesting as I thought back have worked with people who felt they bit off more than they could chew but hung in there and found they could do more than they thought. Hope that happens more, feels good to help others accomplish more than they knew they had in them.
Thanks Dan, have a good one!!!
Thanks for consistently contributing, Scott.
You can chew more than you think but as you indicate, support is essential. Lone wolf’s eventually fail.
I very much agree… particularly the “tackle projects others avoid.” there is usually much opportunity for creativity and turnaround there.
Nothing like improving something everyone hates… 🙂 Thanks Karin and continued success to you at Verizon.
If you are part of a team, how do you get the rest of the team to support taking on yet another project or one others avoid? I am struggling with that concept, that we as a team need to do this or that; but, the team isn’t interested in anything else. I can’t change teams, either. the team is set with the personnel. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
Thanks for joining the conversation, Diane. What a great question.
I wonder is a small component of the team is willing to step up? Forget the whole team. Run with those who want to run. Can you establish a task-force?
Just thinking out loud.
We must stop trying to drag the reluctant few to get on board with ideas. Take the ones who are ready to move forward and work toward solving the problem and leave the rest behind. They will eventually either realize that they are being left behind and rush to get on board or they will sit and wait for a project that they want t o get behind. Either way, the group is better and can get farther without the extra weight of those reluctant to work.
So often, “stepping up” is touted as the path to being a leader. I appreciate that this post is pointing out the shadow side to raising your hand – that it’s possible to take on more than you can handle. Then what?
It’s easy to underestimate how difficult an assignment will be. You are absolutely correct that the only way to “swim” rather than “sink” will be to rally others to your side.
Hi Jennifer and thanks for your contribution. You make me think about qualities to develop before you raise your hand.
Plus as Scott mentions, find mentors.
Thanks again. Cheers
Brother, yes! I have crashed and burned from taking on too much! I have a plan to slow down, AND be more effective this year.
Here are a few tips:
5 Ways to Slow Down and Increase Life Quality
#1 Get paid more
Time is valuable. I haven’t always gotten my value. In 2013, I will get paid more. This will free up time. I also believe it will allow me to serve my clients with greater focus.
#2 Take more time off
Rest is so key! In 2013, I am going to take 4 weeks off of personal time. I admit it now, I may cheat a little.
The whole list here: http://toddliles.com/5-ways-to-slow-down-and-increase-life-quality.html
Todd, Thanks for adding insights and extending the conversations… Here’s to success!
The get paid more suggestion is powerful. Find the price point that sustains your objectives by gradually raising rates.
This struck a chord. Raise your hand, yes. Take on challenges, yes. Both lead to opportunities and learning, but recognize what must be given up in order to take on more. Also, recognize the impact on others and put a plan in place to ensure others who rely on you and may have less of you are not left out or feel left out. Yes .. a lesson learned the hard way.
Thanks for sharing your story Laurie… your experience shines and guides. Cheers!
I have a tendency to take on all challenges, which can make for a overwhelming fear of letting everyone down. But I also know that when that feeling arrives the process of delegation can feel like a great weight is lifted. Last week while feeling overwhelmed I asked for help from a new employee. I knew that this employee would need a great deal of supervision but it would still free me up to do other things. At the end of the week, I thanked him and let him know how helpful it was to have him working on the project. His response was, really I thought I was slowing you down. When I assured him this wasn’t true, I saw him sit up straighter in his chair. Think I’m going have any problems getting him to take on bigger challenges in the future?
Brilliant, Bonnie. I feel encouraged after reading your contribution. I love those moments when people sit up straight, feel honored and appreciated, and take the bull by the horns.
I love this question (although there should be a question mark at the end in your post…that’s the grammar police in me Dan)
“Do you pull back and protect or perpetuate success by expecting others to perform?”
I mean really, how many of us actually expect the completely underqualified, overworked assistant to succeed at sales when the sales staff is all sick and you can’t handle the leads yourself?
So what happens? Odds are they probably fail.
But what would happen…oh to dream…what would happen if we believed in him and made sure they knew we believed in him? Is it possible that he just make surprise you? I’ve seen the exact thing happen. It’s a thing of beauty.
I have set a goal, which is a challenge, but then that is how I have always worked. When one is a leader one believes in what they are doing.
To lead by example one will bring others forward, an idiom which over time builds understanding, communication, support, the achievement of the stated goals.
Our society does love achievement, we do respond to success, the challenge is to have the conviction to just keep going forward in life.
It is lonely.
Speaking from experience it is time to lead by example, to change the ethos of those who stand beside us.
However it is the fortitude of the leader that is the key to success, as well as the participation of those around us today. Are they willing to listen? To improve the understanding?
The answer, “just keep looking forward in life”, that is how I have achieved, and that is where I am going now.
So true, Dan.
So often in clients’ companies I see managers keeping their heads below the parapet and failing to take ownership of issues – sometimes even to the point of avoiding their own responsibilities!
One insightful senior manager recently asked me to prepare a series of leadership workshops for his leadership team based around Leading by Example, Go Look See, Ownership & Problem Solving. So, hopefully in his organisation we’ll see an improvement.
Kicking off next month 🙂
Thank you for this post Dan! It’s really exciting to be reminded how risky, yet rewarding stepping up and raising the bar can be. The ability to raise the bar while working as a team is priceless in a company.
“Stepping up, eventually destroys those who can’t call others to step up.”
Nice work, Dan.