Be A Director
Ever try doing everything yourself? Its one thing when you are alone and you have to do it, but what about when there are others around you and you are the only one working. That is a one way ticket to getting frustrated and overwhelmed. Ted says something very powerful in this section, in a story about his time as a production supervisor at General Motors. Ted was walking the floor and picking up scraps of cardboard off the floor. Another supervisor came and talked to him and asked him what he was doing. I have been in this same situation many times, why not just pick it up? I am right here, in the time it takes to find somebody whose job it is to pick up cardboard, I could have the whole floor cleaned of the stuff! What the veteran supervisor was trying to get across to Ted is the need for delegation.
Delegation has less to do with "That ain't my job" thinking and more to do with resource allocation, in my opinion. The resource in question here is time, specifically, YOUR time. If people see you picking up cardboard, assumptions are going to be made that will decrease the chances the correct person will complete this task. This is something that does not happen overnight, but after a while some people will assume that the task is no longer theirs to do. You think, "Well Chris, there really isn't that much to pick up, its no big deal", until it is. All of a sudden you have a project you need to finish up, and you are walking the floor to get to a meetup with a coworker to go over project details. On the way, you start picking up cardboard. You have grown accustomed to taking on this task, you have done it over several weeks and now there is a little more cardboard than usual. You start to get flustered, meeting time is encroaching, but you don't want to make it seem like you are being lazy. You have taken on a responsibility for something that isn't yours to take. I have been in this position many times and have learned it turns into frustration and contempt for other people, when in reality, you have created the debacle you now are having a hard time breaking from.
The answer is delegation. Your time is valuable, your time is spent doing the things that you need to complete. This goes in every facet of life, notice we have not even talked about your kids yet (ok we are going to start talking about your kids). Ted explains how a lot of people do not want to come across as bossy, so that is why a lot of people struggle with this concept. Here is the thing though, when it comes to your children, you need to be bossy. You need to be the leader, your kids are going to look to you to be this figure for them. Yes, they will get upset sometimes, they won't want to do the things you ask of them, but at the end of the day or some time in the future, they will appreciate it. Remember one of "Teddy's Tips"? You are a parent, not their friend. Your children will have many friends, but only one set of parents.
So when you need to get out of the house by a certain time, delegate some simple tasks to your toddlers. Maybe its finding their jacket and shoes, next it could be getting dressed all by themselves. In some time, they are searching through your piles with you. The point is to start off small and build up from there. As a reminder, make sure to praise and reward for completing the tasks and getting out the door on time. Leaders delegate, and as a parent you should too.