“If you want to go fast, travel alone, but if you want to go far, travel together.” – African proverb
The team we work with is the make it or break it part of our performance and ability to succeed in the workplace. We’ve seen people quit lucrative jobs because of their coworkers. And we’ve seen people take pay cuts and drive an hour to and from work each day to work with a team that motivates and inspires them.
In the workplace, you have a critical responsibility on both ends of this equation.
First, are you working in an environment of coworkers that inspire you and allow you to grow? Second and often overlooked, are you being the coworker that others will drive an hour to work with? This doesn’t mean you are friends with everyone and socialize with them. It doesn’t mean you let yourself become the office psychiatrist everyone dumps on. This might make you popular, but it won’t inspire a person to want to work with you because they see the opportunity for long term growth by being in your presence. In essence, ask yourself, are you the person team members would always pick to be on their team, because they know you get the job done? Are you that team member that people come to when they have a work related issue they don’t know how to solve? These are signs of greatness in the making.
But I can do it faster myself!
The biggest trap you can fall into is the trap of “I can do it faster myself” and this is one I have fallen into myself time after time (Laney). The problem is it does take you less time to do something yourself than training someone new. Well, of course, you already know how to do the task and you are familiar with it. But there are only so many hours in a day, and you can’t do everything. If you are overloaded with work and feel you don’t have the “time” to stop and train someone how to help you, things will never change. You will continue to be overloaded and overworked. But by carving out the time to properly train someone to help you. You will piece by piece lighten your workload and ultimately free up your own time for “future” building. The cardinal rule for “moving on up” is to replace yourself in your current role. Create a bigger future for yourself and find someone to replace you so you can move into that future. But you need to do it properly – in order for training to be effective it needs to be in writing and it needs to be step by step. Casual verbal references to “the way we do things” won’t work.
I worked at a law firm once where they hired a new attorney to help turn around work for their business clients faster. They were getting behind and clients were getting unhappy. After a month or so, the “boss” complained that the new attorney took 2 days to do something that would only take him 15 minutes to get done. While she suspect that was a bit of an exaggeration, even if it was accurate, she reminded him, that if it took him 3 weeks to find the free 15 minutes to complete the task, then it still got done faster with the new attorney taking 2 days to do it, because she had the 2 days open right away. This is how team works. Team can unlock the gridlock or bottleneck of workflow and allow things to get done faster. So just because you are the fastest at something doesn’t mean you should be the one doing it. And it certainly doesn’t mean it is the best revenue producing activity for you.
Systems save time and your sanity!
One of the best things you can do is force yourself to stop and write down step by step instructions for anything you have to train a new person or another team member on. We know, we know… its time consuming and painful enough to show them how to do something, much less to write it down step by step. But sometimes that new person doesn’t work out, and you end up training another new person and another new person until you find that perfect fit. To save your time, and more importantly your sanity, putting pen to paper and writing down the instructions and placing them in an instruction manual, WILL save you time the next go round. After writing the instructions, let the person you are training attempt to follow the instructions without you chiming in. This will let you see if you missed any step that needs to be added in. And if after 90-days they still don’t work out……at least you have a training manual for the next person that comes along….look at that, already saving you time.
If you want to go far, go together…
The other devastating effect of “I can do it faster myself” is that you not only harm yourself, but you take away the growth opportunity of your team. A team that grows together stays together. If you have quality team, but don’t provide them opportunities for growth, they will get lazy, sloppy or leave. To empower yourself and your team, create growth opportunities for you and your team. As you move forward you create opportunities for them to move forward.
Take the first step towards empowering yourself and your team. Join us November 9th at 4-5PM EST as to learn the “Keys to An Empowering Conversation“.
Limited space – click here to register now!