One of the most important things I’ve learned from my time on robotics teams is how to be a good leader. I’ve always fell into leadership roles on robotics teams and in school, especially in group projects. However, it took me a while to actually learn how to fill these roles well. I would always end up doing all of the work, partly because I didn’t trust group members, and partly because I didn’t know how to give up control of the work I was doing. I was living the idea that “if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.” THAT IS NOT TRUE
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.
This blog was written by anonymous. If you are interested in blogging for FIRST Ladies, click here to sign up on the schedule.
Be a guest
Do you want to be a guest blogger for FIRST Ladies? You can write about a topic of your choice! Please email us the completed blog and track your creation using this link: