At one time, I used to find it difficult to make decisions on my own, concerned mainly about the repercussions of my future actions and everyone’s perception towards them and myself as a person.
I always ask: “What do you think about this or that? Do you think I should go ahead and do it this way?”
If you were on the other end of this constant probing, you would probably question my ability to think for myself!
Recently however, I was put in a position where I had to take a couple of hits on behalf of the team. This was because I had been made a team leader!
This frightened me and to be honest, the days leading up to that dreaded period kept me up all night. Not because I was incapable of doing the job, but because these were fields I had never played on or had ever intended to anyway.
It required me accounting for each and every activity or task at hand, owning up to everyone’s actions and responsibilities and making a final decision on behalf of the team.
Aside from all of that, I still had my own duties and obligations to meet as an employee. “This is a lot of responsibility to bear for someone like me,” I told myself.
Quite naturally, I started to panic, but for some strange reason I also thought I could manage all on my own and asking for help more often than usual, would have meant I was not capable of doing my job as a leader.
When you are dealing with high profile clients in the corporate world, work will always pile up no matter how efficient you are and of course my reluctance to delegate affected my efficiency in execution.
I remember that morning as clear as day. I looked around and saw a team of people who are always more than willing to help starring right back at me. At first, I was very disappointed in my speed of decision-making until my hitherto unknown natural leadership skills kicked in. Perhaps this was a defence mechanism to save my hide!
Anyway, swiftly, skilfully and strategically, I whipped up an execution plan, assigned responsibilities and the team got to work. The amount of relief I felt when everything began to click cannot be put in words. I was extremely proud of the results because this meant that the right amount of energy and concentration required for every task was applied and the workload was made lighter for me to oversee everything.
Most importantly I tapped into abilities I did not even know existed within me. My stretch as the team leader produced several benefits. One major thing I learnt is that you need to trust that the team you are a part of, is an effective tool you can use to get things done efficiently and crucially hold them accountable.
The experience made me a better person! More confident than ever before and better to serve my clients, because now decision-making comes much easier. Sometimes in this business, trust your instincts more rather than your fears!