Are you a giver or a taker?

This week, teach someone something valuable – valuable to them, that is.

It could be an easier way of doing something you happen to see them do. Maybe it’s a great new trick you have learned that you can share with someone else. Maybe it’s some steps or shortcuts to a process. Maybe it’s how to breathe (I’ve just listened to a great book called Breathe…. But that’s for another day). It may be something you take for granted because it’s easy for you – and suddenly you realise it’s not that easy for others.

Be a giver of value. Not pushing your ways onto others – that’s not where we’re heading.

Which leads me to how we talk delegation and as leaders often think “who can I push this to, I can’t do it all”. But true delegation is teaching and empowering others to stretch and grow. As an end result, when you’ve practised this enough and get great at it, you WILL find yourself dealing with higher-level challenges and more strategic focus – because you have enabled others to deal with the rest.

Still, often we keep doing things ourselves for way too long – because we do them better and faster. Who recognises this???? I see many hands, my own included.

But if we never let go, others will never get the chance.

Are you a giver or a taker? Some of you may have heard this favourite story of mine before, about the best Mother’s Day ever when our daughters were nearly 8 and 11.

A gift I pushed onto my wishlist for the day (bossy much??). A gift that would pay back plentiful over years to come – but at the same time it was also a gift for them in a way. The girls did the washing. All loads of clothes, from start to finish with sorting, filling the machine, choosing programs, drying, and folding/hanging away. At this point, they had helped before – but they had never had the full responsibility.

The set-up was me with a great book on the terrace – and they could come and ask as much as they wanted, but it was their project.

Why do I love this story? Because it’s exactly the same with every work project you’ve ever done. Every team you have ever led.

True delegation starts with empowering others to know they can look after themselves. That they can deal with whatever happens. That they have lifelines, 50/50 or call a friend when needed. But that you only learn what it takes when it’s yours from start till the end.

Become a giver of responsibility. Not a taker.

With our kids, it starts with small things, but at the end of your childhood, you can be in a very fortunate situation where you feel like you can handle whatever the world throws your way. It starts with being enabled. And as adults, we work the same way.

So, back to delegation and teaching someone something this week. Start scanning the world around you for value you can add. Value you can give. It may be a responsibility ready to be handed over. Or just a simple tip. Either way, scanning for someone ready and open to learning something valuable to them.

Give long-lasting gifts: Become the teacher of valued stuff.