I have a really hard time letting something go that’s virtually outside of my control. It’s probably one of my biggest flaws.
In this particular case I’m talking about the passing off of responsibility and trusting others to do something that I might be able to to better.
I realize that a business or even relationship cannot grow without trust, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard as hell sometimes.
Think about it.
As a parent
How many times are you watching your kid do something that you know will take you five seconds yet it’s taking them forever?
What do you do? Do you step in and say “here, let me do it?” Or what if they say “dad, I can’t do it, you do it?” Do you encourage them to keep trying?
At what point are you just going to say “screw this, I’ll do it?”
As a husband
What if you’re in a rush and your spouse is holding you up?
What if the reason your spouse is holding you up is something that you can take care of?
Do you take care of it?
Or do you wait it out in hopes that your spouse will learn to do it themselves the next time?
And how often have you felt yourself doing both? Because honestly you don’t really know the answer.
As an employee
Have you ever passed off a job to someone else that you knew you could do faster than they could?
How long do you wait for them to do it before you swoop in and say “I got this?”
Is it week? A month? A day?
For me personally, it varies. It depends on how urgent the task is. It also depends on the kind of mood I’m in.
It’s a balancing act
The reality is there is no distinct answer as to when you should step in and when you should continue to let a person figure things out.
The reality is that each situation has its own set of parameters.
On the one hand you want to teach independence. You want to teach trust to both them and yourself. You want to teach a skill and also to teach patience.
On the other hand your patience may run out. A deadline may pass. You might be really late to the party. Your kid just might be pissing you off because you know they’re not trying.
When do you pull the trigger?
I wish there was a distinct answer. The truth is that there isn’t but I’m going to try anyway.
When you feel the urge to “do it yourself” try and pause. Ask yourself critical questions.
Who does this benefit more? Me or them? And if it only benefits me, is that good for my long term goals? If you can’t train an employee to do the things you need them to do, can your company ever grow? Probably not.
If you continue interfering with your child’s learning because you’re too impatient to teach them, will they develop the right way? How will they then parent their children?
My suggestion is to always err on the side of patience. Always try to hold out as long as you can. In the end, developing others is key to developing yourself and the kind of relationship you need to have to grow as a person, business, anything.
When do you step in? You step in when you absolutely need to. Those are moments you need to figure out for yourself but again, err on the side of patience.