This week I’ve been divided into two. No, I’m not undergoing mitosis. (How’s that for high school biology!) My team has worked very hard to produce our first key product in our strategic development work, and they are now focusing on get-ahead tasks while I prepare to present the aforementioned product to key NASA leaders. The preparation part that is occupying half my attention requires dry-runs before various reviewers. I’ve been practicing and giving presentations and dealing with the inevitable last-minute changes from the review process. The get-ahead part occupies the other half of my attention. In it I am seeking and enlisting the aid of key resources who have information relevant for our next stage. This work will keep my team busy while I’m rehearsing the presentation and allow us to make some early progress on the next stage.
I reflected on how I was doing as a leader this week. I had a sense that I may not have been delegating enough to my team, especially with regard to the get-ahead tasks. So, the other day I asked one of my team members, who is quickly becoming my right-hand person, for some feedback. I asked her to keep an eye on me, and if she notices that I am not delegating something, she is to bring it to my immediate attention. She agreed, and although she didn’t say it, the look and half-smile that she gave me was all the affirmation I needed.
Fast-forward to today. Towards the end of an extremely busy workday, I took a moment to catch up on news and Twitter. During my review I noted a new blog post by John Maxwell entitled – of all things – “You’re doing too much on your own.” Wow, that hit home, and timely! In his write-up it is the following reminder: “give away everything you can.” I considered the get-ahead tasks. One or more of the gang can do the work at least 80% as well as I can – likely even better than that, so I could give away responsibility of the get-ahead tasks to my team and focus on preparing for the presentation.
As soon as I realized that, I felt the splitting stop. Now, I can focus on the presentation and let the team continue to forge ahead. Plus, I now can enjoy the entire weekend!