Remember when you were young and with your friends or siblings, and it was determined someone had to go first to do a distasteful chore? Someone would call out “1-2-3…” and as fast as possible, the group would yell, “not it!” Usually it was said in unison, in order to get out of doing it, but if it was noticeable that you were the last to say it, you were stuck doing it (usually after whining that you weren’t “ready”).
As adults in families and work groups, there are too many people who also call out “Not it!” when there is something to be done that will help the group. People find “convenient” excuses–er, answers–to somehow stay Teflon to extra work that they were not expecting. Who’s left doing the task? Usually the “pleaser” in the group who tends to get stuck with mopping up after everyone, because they want to be well-liked and not seen as a squeaky wheel–which oftentimes burns this person out.
OR…better yet…the person that “signs up” to do it is the one who wants to be seen as a “go-to” person on the team. Instead of saying “Not it”, this person says “Yes, I’m on it!” and the team smiles, happy that “someone” has volunteered that isn’t them. After a while of taking responsibility of getting things done time after time, this team player is viewed in a positive light, and gets praised for “dependability, trust, accountability, cooperation” and much more. When the chips are down, who gets sought after to come through in the clutch? Yep, you guessed it: the go-to person. And their positive reputation precedes them.
How do you become a go-to person?
- Keep your radar up for the tasks that are falling through the cracks. Find a system for shoring those up, and appoint yourself (or get permission to be) the monitor of the system until it’s running well.
- When you are in a team meeting, and there is silence after the question, “Who will champion this?” be the one who says “got it” instead of “not it” and let the team know by when they can count on you to handle it.
- Get in the habit of closing loops with superb follow-through. With anything delegated to you, communicate broadly to the delegators that you have completed the task–so they no longer wonder if it’s been taken care of.
- Be approachable with your demeanor. No one wants to seek your participation if you scowl when they enter your workspace. Your smile and body language and “How can I help?” mantra will emanate a cooperative spirit from you.
- Never complain. Complaining is a passive-aggressive form of “not-it”: sure, you’ll do it, but not without squawking the whole way. Swallow any annoyances, push through obstacles and find a way to get ‘er done.
Here comes an opportunity to be a servant-leader. Ready?
I train leaders to adopt a servant-leader mindset. If you are an emerging leader or have one on your team, consider signing up for the Tri-Cities’ LeaderLauncher program. Each month features an aspect of leadership with a 2-hour seminar, plus a mastermind group with the LL community two weeks later to turn inspiration into action. www.leader-launcher.com