Several years ago, I was tired after a particularly long week. We’d been under a deadline and trying to wrap up final tests for a feature. It had been a bumpy week, to say the least.
One of our tests revealed a bug we needed to fix. Being the (newly minted) senior engineer on the team, I thought I needed to be the one to fix it. I spent the week juggling this fix while trying to keep up with my other work in flight. I got through it but was exhausted after the effort.
The following week I mentioned how tired I was, thinking the rest of the team would feel the same way. And while they agreed it was a long week, they seemed much more rested than I was. I was surprised and asked why. One engineer said politely, “Well, you sorta kept us from helping.”
That helped me realize that “doing it all yourself” is not only a bad idea for your mental health but can also keep others from learning, growing, and accomplishing important too. I needed to learn how to delegate. I needed to learn to accomplish goals through others.
I’ve learned a lot since that week several years ago. And while I still have more to learn, I’ve been practicing this idea in four key ways that I wanted to share. If you follow me on LinkedIn, this will sound familiar to a few posts from last week, but with more depth and insight (I hope).
One way we can accomplish work through others is by helping our teams level up. We can help our teams grow their skills by sharing our skills, experience, and knowledge so that our team can benefit from what we have learned in our careers.
The specific skills your team will need to grow in will vary (naturally). You might need to help help your team learn and master their coding skills. They might be great coders but need help communicating their ideas clearly. Or it might be something else.
In any case, ask your teammates what skills they want to develop, and offer help in the areas you feel competent. You’ll be surprised by how many people take you up on the offer.
Be careful not to act as a manager here, though (unless you are one 😄). It would be best to avoid trying to manage their career or giving them performance reviews…