It’s great to be known as someone who will always be prepared to help; a team player and a problem solver.  But is this really to the benefit you and those around you?

There is an odd kind of joy, or at least perhaps a comfort, in being really busy. You don’t have to think too hard about what is most important and you can revel in the sacrifices you make for the good of your colleagues and the organisation.  You can be the helpful, problem-solving martyr.


Are you really being efficient?

Is this a pattern?  Do you constantly leap in to action rather than slowing down to think and plan what you need to do and how to best achieve it?  Being action-oriented is an important skill in the workplace, but there is no point sprinting until you know which direction the finishing line is in. Don’t deceive yourself that you are being efficient by launching in to things quickly.

This “thinking and planning avoidance“ trait can surface when others are asking for help.  When someone presents you with the opportunity to get something done, do you grasp the opportunity a little too quickly?


Are you creating dependency?

It is worth asking if this really is in your own best interests or even in the interests of those around you?  Do you add less value in your role, because you are problem solving for others rather than focusing on the things that only you can drive forward and which might make a far bigger difference in the long run?

Further, do you also risk building up a dependency culture in those around you? Taking away opportunities for others to develop and grow through “effortful struggle”?

If the answer to these two questions is yes even part of the time, then it’s worth doing two things to get in to a more deliberate, self-directed way of working.


Be more self-directed

Firstly before you turn on email (filled with other people’s agendas) or even before you get in to the office, spend at least five minutes framing the day.  What do you really want to do and to achieve today? This week? This quarter?

Secondly, start to build a method and the right language so that you can say no to others in a really constructive way.  By this, I mean that you still offer support and guidance, but you insist that the other person thinks for themself and in so doing, learns more about the immediate problem as well as building independence for the future.


Click on this link to see how to say no to people professionally

Click on this link to see how to deal with staff who seem too needy