This robotics season has been about me working on myself and my own leadership skills. The first thing I did was try to learn about myself and the problems I was having in teams. I discovered that I have a tendency to take things over, and none of it is the fault of the teams that I am on. It’s my own problem. I also saw what having one person take over a project does to the rest of the group. When one person takes over, it can make the rest of the group feel unappreciated and incompetent. It makes you question why the person taking over doesn’t trust you. I realized that I had been doing this to my teams for years. From feeling this happen to me, I realized that the people you accidentally isolate when you do all of the work DO want to contribute, and DO want to be helpful. But it’s really hard to be helpful when one person takes over an entire project. So I worked to change, and look more closely at what my team members wanted to contribute, and what value they brought to the team I was on.
The second thing I did was to work to bring people into the work I was doing. It was a hard thing to do, especially knowing I may have been able to work quicker by myself. But making your team members feel valuable and like they have a place on your team is worth it. I made a point of showing my team what I had been working on, getting their feedback, and asking for help when I needed it. Even if work wasn’t always done the way I would have done it, I found value in the simple task of asking for help. From giving up bits and pieces of work that I had been taking over, I learned to appreciate what my team members bring to the team. I no longer feel frustrated that I feel like I’m doing all of the work, because I’m able to ask for help and include others to help balance the workload. The feeling of frustration had been my fault the entire time, and I had been blaming my friends for not doing enough when I wasn’t letting them do anything.
So, my point is that the best leaders are able to work in teams. Not take over teams, but help and ask for help. When you stop taking over, you spread out the work more evenly. And when you spread out work, you make everyone on your team feel like they have a place where they are important. Not only this, but it also makes teams much more productive when more people are doing more of the work. So if you, like me, tend to take over projects, look at the effects you’re having on your team, and work to change how you lead. It makes all the difference.
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