Do you feel overwhelmed because you’re always taking care of other people’s problems?
Perhaps you can never quite find the time to get your work done during business hours because you’re always helping other people with their work? Does it feel like everyone else is dependent on you?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not alone! We hear these feelings and frustrations from our clients just about every day, and we often felt the same way when we were in the practice of public accounting.
Accountants tend to be really great problem solvers. This may be what attracted you to this profession in the first place, and it’s probably played a huge role in your success. It’s great to be a problem solver, isn’t it?! It feels good to tackle a really tough problem that helps someone else.
But…your incredible problem solving skills could be inhibiting the development of your team.
If you wish your team would take more ownership of their work and be less dependent on you, we encourage you to look at yourself first. How might you be enabling this dependence? Perhaps you’re jumping in to save the day for them because:
- You can do it better.
- You can do it faster.
- You don’t have time to explain it to them.
But, each time you take a problem off a team member’s plate, you are essentially telling them:
- I don’t think you can handle this.
- I don’t trust you.
- You aren’t capable of doing this without me.
This isn’t the most empowering message, is it? It’s certainly not encouraging people to take more ownership of their work. In fact, your incredible problem solving skills are minimizing their growth opportunities. Your problem solving could be wearing you out, ultimately leading you down a path of burn-out, exhaustion, and frustration. Solving everyone’s problems all the time is simply not sustainable.
So, what can you do instead of solving someone’s problem for them?
First, simply notice your tendency to jump in and solve. Noticing gives you immense power because it shines the light on previously unconscious behavior. Once you’re conscious of the behavior, you have the power to change it.
When you notice your desire to jump in and solve, simply pause. Take a beat. Ask yourself, “Is solving this problem the best course of action right now, or is there something else I could do to empower this person to solve the problem on their own?” (Need a few ideas for what you can do instead of solving? Check out this blog post, or one of our new online coaching programs – Break the Dependence or Performance Coaching.)
Shifting your leadership mindset from solving others’ problems to empowering them is one of the first steps to becoming a true coaching leader. Why not try taking that step today? We’ll be here to support you every step of the way. (Pssst…check out our Summer of Coaching Special below for additional ways we can support you in becoming a coaching leader. )
See you in the DoP,