You don’t need an excuse for your story

If you want to say something, tell it. You do not need to make an excuse on why you are telling it. Why should you start your article or presentation with a vague reference as “Many people ask me….” or “When I was at location X, a frog came up to me, and we had a conversation about…”

It might feel comfortable to package your story with a preamble that you are telling it because of other people, whether they are imaginary friends or actual people. Though is that what the people you are addressing are waiting for? You tell them that because of other people than them or a different situation than now, you are telling them this story? How does that create relevance?

The reason people are looking up to you is because you’re you. They’re not looking up to you so that you’ll tell them something that you would never actually tell them. They’re looking up to you so that you tell them something that you would tell them yourself.

Bille Eilish

The reason why people want to hear from you is because of you. Make up no excuses about why this story matters. It matters without an excuse as long as you make it relevant for those listening.

Don’t wait till people ask if you could share your story with them. Be courageous. There is a reason why they are hanging out with you, even when it is a corporate meeting (they could have declined it if they did not want to be there).

Make the story relevant for those who want to listen to you, and focus on what they can take out of it. Do not create an excuse for why it should be suitable for them. If there are relevant takeaways, you were fabulous.

When you tell them why ten other people were asking you about this topic, and there are no takeaways, what did you do besides fill time with words? Be courageous and tell your story.

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Categorized as leadership

Delegation sparks joy

If you do not delegate some of your work, you are not only limiting your impact, but you are also withholding opportunities and fun from others. Delegation is not about you not doing the things on your list. It is about making it a team effort to go beyond the list and achieve great things and an exercise in humility.

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.

CS Lewis

Delegation is more than handing off work or putting employees to work. Delegation done right results in a net positive increase in productivity, happiness, impact, and a feeling of being into it together. Delegation is not about freeing up your time. It is about making other people grow.

Do people hate extra work?

You might be fearful that the one on the receiving end will despise you since you are handing off work. But will they? Have you checked with them how they think about picking some items up from your list? Maybe it is not even an item yet, but it is just a thought you had, you have not explored yet, and now they have the joy of exploring.

As long as the delegation is not dumping, most people will enjoy it when you think of them for exciting opportunities. It is an opportunity to do something they usually do not do. It is likely something new (please do not delegate the menial tasks to the same people repeatedly) and do exciting things.

Does it spark joy?

Though “Does it spark joy?”, as modern philosophers would ask? The delegatee could be happy, but are you? Please write it down how you feel. Write down everything you delegate and how you feel about it. First of all, you might discover your list is too short and might want to delegate more. Keep in mind that delegating is less about you and your work. It is about the others and how you help them grow.

What happens if you are unhappy about delegating, but the one you delegated to is ecstatic? Can you take one for the team? Since if that person’s happiness is +2 and yours is -1, net happiness just increased in your team. Though be careful, since net happiness might be positive, it doesn’t mean that you should go into the red and be unhappy.

Trust is better than filtering

Do not filter work in detail before delegating. Have that conversation with people if they believe they can do it. It is not what you think. If they feel they can do it, let them at it. If they can’t, be there to support and let them learn. Happy little surprises happen if they can. Let them happen. Do not micro-manage or monitor. People know it when you are staring over their shoulder, even when virtual. Do agree; however, you stay in touch and can support them. Since delegation is not dumping, you still want to stay connected.

Delegate sidewards and upwards

Delegation is not a hierarchical activity. It does not just work passing from the top to the bottom. If you are good at delegating, you delegate sidewards and upwards. And all the same, suggestions apply:

  • List what you delegate and how it makes you feels
  • Agree on what good might look like together
  • Trust the judgement of others
  • Agree on how to stay informed (if needed) while you empowers others

Delegation is not easy. You give up control of something you know you can do (and do very well). However, you provide other people with the opportunity to grow, to do something they like and in some cases: to pick up the things you do not have time for.

Get comfortable with the uneasiness of delegation and enjoy increasing your impact by sharing work with others and giving others a new opportunity to make more impact and increase their visibility.

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Categorized as leadership

Be nice

Nobody ever disliked a nice person. Being nice is the most simple skill to build and use in your daily life. Being nice is its own reward most of the time.

One of the most underrated skills in business right now is being nice. Nice sells.

Mark Cuban
  • If you need help, to whom would you instead go? The nice person.
  • If you want advice, to whom would you instead go? The nice person.
  • If you want to catch up, to who would you instead go? The nice person.

People like nice people. Do not confuse being nice with being slimy, with somebody who constantly does lip service, who tells you what you want to hear. None of these things is about being nice. It might look nice and feel nice, though people will see through it and know it is disingenuous. People do not like deceitful people.

Don’t hold back

If you are nice, it doesn’t mean that you need to hold back. You can be nice and honest, nice and direct, nice and open, nice and disagreeable. It is how you behave. It is how much you care about the other. Since if you are just honest but not nice, you are just being mean.

Be nice. It doesn’t cost you anything extra. Niceness might be the best investment in your career. If you can interact with people, give them a good feeling, and resolve conflicts in a manner both parties value, you become an even more precious person.

Over time, your valuation pays out. Unfriendly people only go so far. Niceness has endless longevity. And as with most investments, time in the market beats timing in the market.

Be nice in 2022.