Help sign

Your co-worker makes a beeline to you with problems that she should be able to handle on her own.

Your assistant runs breathlessly to your office when he meets the slightest hurdle.

Your boss relies on you for minutia that’s not included in your job description.

People can’t seem to find their files, or the email that is needed for the next staff meeting.  They can’t figure out what to do if their original plan fails or come up with creative solutions on the spot.  

But hey, no problem. They’ve got you.  You can find that email, make 10 copies and circulate it to the team before they’ve realized it’s an issue.  

Do you ever scratch your head and wonder what’s wrong with everyone? Why they can’t problem-solve or take initiative in a crisis?  Honestly, if you weren’t there, how would they survive?

Not only do you see 3 steps ahead in most circumstances, but you’re also organized and capable. You run circles around most of the people you work with, and everyone knows it.

Maybe you’re a little too helpful?

It can feel pretty good to be the one with all the answers – to know and keep track of all the details.  But that good feeling can quickly devolve to resentment and frustration when those around you stop taking responsibility all-together.

What does all that responsibility cost you?  Does it take away from your ability to do your own job or do you just spend more time working?  And what is the cost for those that work with you?  On the surface, it may seem as though you are “helping,” but are you?  

Coach Me Quick tips to stop helping:

  1.  When your co-worker wonders out loud abut how to do something or where to find information, put both hands over your mouth and a bag over your head if you have to, but don’t give the answer. Let that silence just sit there. You may add a comment like “hmmm, that’s a good question,” but resist the temptation to help.  
  2. When your assistant is flummoxed by a problem that you can fix with a quick phone call, an online search or a walk down the hall to confer with a colleague, don’t do it!  Yes, it will take them longer to solve the problem and watching the process may be excruciating for you.  Resist the temptation to help.
  3. You may be the keeper of more information than is necessary. Take an inventory. If you are in charge of keeping track of and remembering more than your fair share, start giving it away in small chunks to those around you.

You’ll probably have to give up being the person everyone turns to in a crisis.  You’ll get over it.

Sleeping better in L.A.