Getting the job done: why you should trust and empower others

When I first started work I had the following mindset:

I am going to get this done because I need to do it in order to get the credit I deserve.

Within my first few months I was tasked with setting up a networking event for my leadership program’s alumni group.  This involved coordinating the location, food, drinks, and securing alumni to attend.  This seemed like a pretty easy way for me to show what I can do and be recognized for it.

While I was in charge of this specific piece of the puzzle, I was a member of a broader committee in charge of alumni outreach.  There were three other members that were willing and able to help out in setting up the networking event.  I instead chose to run with it myself without asking for assistance.

The main reason I recall not wanting assistance was I wanted to show I could do it and be recognized for it.  While this may appear selfish, there were eight other people in my leadership program and we were competitive.  Competitive for roles, salaries, and attention.  Any little thing I could do to set me apart would help me out in those competitions.  If I were able to pull off this networking event successfully, I’d show my manager that I could do it and figured it all out on my own.

The event came and went and, from what I recall, went well.  Great - kudos to me!  After the event my manager approached me and said:

Why didn’t you seek help from your team?  It is not about who gets the work done, it is about the work getting done.  If your team succeeds, you succeed.

This changed my vantage point drastically.  That logic makes so much sense to me now, but as a new employee it did not.  I was working at a company with thousands of people, yet I felt I needed to be the one to get credit for accomplishing a task.  The whole company is working towards the same goal.  If the company succeeds, I succeed.

One of the big learnings, and pieces of career advice, from this was delegating and trusting others to get the job done.  While it is one thing to delegate a task, showing a level of trust in their ability is a sign of respect and requires another level of leadership.  As a new employee, I felt that the way I wanted to get a job done was the only way to do it, so I feared delegating and trusting others.  Once I recognized that there is no right way to do something, I started to become more comfortable trusting others to accomplish tasks.   

As someone new to their career, I implore you to not worry about getting all the credit.  That will come if you put forth your best effort and leverage your team to get the job done.  You do not need to be the sole champion of your job or task.  There are teams for a reason - trust your team to get the job done and let them do their jobs.  Not only will you perform better, but you will still see accolades come your way for a team’s job well done.

Thought Starters

  • When have you tried to get all the work done by yourself only to see it fall back on you?
  • How can you include others in a project to make it easier to get the job done?
We'd love to hear your feedback? Do you find Corporate State University to be helpful to you and your career?