Delegation

27

Feb

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I might have control issues.

I often have a very specific idea of what I want in any given situation. I have difficulty letting other people act in those situations because they don’t share my idea. Sometimes I think they aren’t going to do it right, so I’ll save time by doing it myself rather than having to come back and redo it after they get it wrong.

The kitchen taught me this about myself.

I like to bake. I like getting my hands in flour. I love the smells. I love the results of my efforts. Baking needs precision. Yes, we call it a recipe, but it’s really a formula. You measure and mix and, poof!, you have something delicious. Changing little things can make the difference between success and failure. So, baking with someone who isn’t particular can be frustrating. I never felt myself as anxious and snippy as trying to bake with someone who thinks “close enough” is a thing. It’s humbling to realize that my usually chill demeanor can disappear so quickly.

Knowing this about myself, however, is helpful when I put my work hat on. I have to remind myself to loosen my hold on some things. Most activities at work don’t have to be done the way I do them. I can learn when I let someone else step forward. I get a different perspective when I bring others into the decision making process. I think the library is stronger for it.

But that doesn’t mean it’s easy or natural for me.

Last week I met with my new board president and she asked me if there’s anything I needed from her. There’s a big grant deadline coming up and I could easily have said, “No, I’m good,” and struggled under the weight of the application. Instead I said I could use some help. Today, we met with a group of board members and split up the tasks between us.

Will I still worry about everything getting done? Absolutely. But I came out of that meeting feeling like something that I wasn’t sure would be possible will get done. I just had to loosen my grip.

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