In a world where there is competition in almost all aspects of business and professional life, being competitive has become a basic behavior expected from us. To climb higher, you need to have this, you need to have studied there, and you should have finished this. To get this project, you need to be there before them. To win, you need to . accomplish this. There are just too many things that made us
the competitive people that we are today
But what happens when our being competitive is not enough to win us the achievement we want? What happens when we are presented with something so critical that failing it will not only affect our career, but also the career of other people, and the company in general? Is diving through the project head first still a good idea?
Taking the backseat is never something that a lot of people would think to be a good value to have as a professional. For most, you need to shine out, even if it means you have to work until the wee hours in the morning, grabbing even profound projects that we have no clue what it is about. Let me tell you that this is completely wrong and you are heading the wrong direction if you are doing this.
It is true that you need to be competitive and be able to outshine other people in order to show dominance in the workforce. But there are times that not taking the lead is just as important. Here are a few signs that will tell you when to take the backseat:
When there is someone more knowledgeable than you. Failure is the best teacher, as they say, but in projects where there are a lot at stake, like capital-intensive projects or critical biddings, and you are not sure about your capabilities in the activity, never wing it by yourself. Learn to seek help. Do not be that person with such a strong ego and can’t accept other people’s suggestions, especially when it comes from people who are more knowledgeable than you on the subject matter. Admitting your own weaknesses will allow you to learn yourself and the things you have to improve more.
When you are reaching your limits. Everyone wants to climb higher in the corporate ladder, or outperform all other competition. In order to do this, we try to do exert every inch of effort we can muster and try to become that star employee our bosses want a manager to be. But sooner or later, we have to realize that there is only so much that a person can do before he starts to break and wear out. Being stressed out is good only in a level that it stimulates you to work harder and be as efficient as you can be. However, if the stress from your workload is just not humanly possible, you might want to rethink about accepting more work, and focus on the tasks that you currently have. Not only will you not be able to accomplish everything with additional burden, but also the quality of work you will be doing for all your other projects will be negatively affected. Know your boundaries. And if you really want to be a better employee, increase your workload at a smaller and more manageable pace.
When you are a manager. I have seen a few cases where the manager is hands-on. Perhaps too hands-on that they try to engage the tasks that his people should be doing. Do not get me wrong, being a servant leader is a great value to have. However, in the case where you are the manager of a team, your role is to be able to manage your people enough for others not to take part in the work of other people.
You are responsible for improving their efficiency in their individual tasks and making sure that they are well coordinated with each other. You should not be a part of the main process, but rather, the overseer — the one to make sure that the process is being followed effectively. You being involved in the work of other people because you think they are inefficient tells everyone that you are not a good manager, and that you do not trust your people to learn and improve for themselves.
Taking the backseat is not a sign of weakness unless done out of laziness. It’s a sign that you acknowledge the things that you have to work on. Sometimes, in doing so, you can make the outcome better. Learning that other people would be better doing the task you are trying to accomplish, or allowing them to take part in your success, or even allowing them to have their own successes is a sign of a person who
knows how to lead.
Ruben Anlacan Jr. is the president and
CEO of BusinessCoach, Inc.