“If I do that, I will lose my job!”
“Brian, I’ve talked this through with Jeff and he’s in full support.”
Brian’s boss, Jeff, had been concerned about Brian’s personal health from overcommitting and constantly taking on more than his share of the workload. Jeff and I came up with a plan – Brian could not say yes to any new requests or obligations for a week.
“I have people counting on me every day. Saying no to them will slow things down a lot around here. Plus, I will be letting them down!” Brian protested.
“Then work into saying no. If someone comes to you with a request you are not already committed to, just tell them you can’t help them at this moment but to come back at the end of the week.”
“I guess if Jeff is good with this I will try. But it’s not going to be easy.”
People with Responsibility are great at getting things done. Not unlike Achievers, people with Responsibility can usually push and drive results to get things accomplished. The difference is that Achievers have an intrinsic drive to get things done, whereas people with Responsibility are externally driven to do this for people or because of the promises and commitments they have made to others.
Those with Responsibility in their Top 5 often overcommit. They give their word they will do something and they will often go above and beyond so as to not let others down, “taking one for the team.” Setting boundaries is crucial with this talent’s Kryptonite.
Someone with Responsibility will often have standards of commitment, sacrifice, and follow-through similar to the way Relators have rules. How they perform may set the standard for how they define responsible relationships and/or leadership. In addition, if others don’t measure up, they won’t delegate, feeling it is just safer to do it themselves. For Brad, it was critical to start somewhere in mitigating this overextension of the Responsibility talent. Saying no would be saying yes to his personal health and work-life balance.
A week later Brad walked into our coaching time with color in his face, blood shot eyes erased, and a smile from ear to ear.
“I can’t believe I did it. But I get it now. The first few times I told people to check back with me, I felt like I was betraying them or letting them down. But you know what I found out? They either said it wasn’t that urgent or that they would go check with someone else. By the end of the week I was even able to say no to some requests because I knew I was not the only reliable person they could tap. Even Jeff asked me to take something on and I told him ‘not without helping me taking something else off my plate.’ I never knew I could have a conversation like that with my boss!”
Brad realized in that week how to move from letting his Responsibility run him to him driving his Responsibility.
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