Managing Yourself to Success

Hey, you!

If the organization chart above looks the way you feel, then join the club. So many of my clients tell me it’s easier to do than delegate. “It’s faster, Jane, and cheaper” some say. I believe you, sort of. The great part about doing everything yourself is the sense of control you gain and the rush you get from crossing all these tasks off your “to do” list. The problem is the list keeps growing and you continue to address only immediate needs. The next thing you know you’re 100% up on the tactical and nowhere with strategy.

This challenge is experienced in a number of workplace venues. In larger organizations it may be the politics of getting support or the fear of appearing to need help. Many small businesses are personality-driven; staff members have their niches, and limited skill sets, so they stay within their areas of expertise regardless of changing needs and demands. For the solopreneur there is an intimate knowledge of everything so it’s easy to pick up a piece of work and do it. You’re understaffed and under supported so what the choice. Short-term cost factors influence everyone as does the need to have it done right.

The challenge for many of my coaching clients is to work at their true level of expertise and salary, or better yet, ABOVE. Leading CEOs know they can only focus on a small number of major issues in order to impact results. They rely on middle managers to execute. This can be time consuming and distracting for staff but essential to the bottom line. Americans are not good at delegating. We pride ourselves in our willingness to do anything to get the job done and are accused of being too democratic when it comes to establishing hierarchies. We see former President Jimmy Carter hammering dry wall, hear about celebrities shopping at Wal-Mart and begin to think it’s not only OK but the way it should be. The problem is those people are looking for a photo op and you need to get things done, so back to the tasks you go.

I promise you, you are not alone with this problem. Many of my clients come to me overwhelmed with tasks and the sense that everything is up to them. In our coaching sessions we identify what is really important and what will most impact their career. We then figure out how to keep the important a priority and what to do with the rest.

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Understand that “no” can be a complete sentence.
  2. Get real friendly with your delete key.
  3. Because we call it a “to do” list does not mean you have to “do” it, rather that you are responsible for seeing that the work gets done.
  4. There is always someone who can do things better than you, let them do it and you oversee them.
  5. Most tasks can be completed by a person you makes less money than you.
  6. Job descriptions are fluid. They need to change with need. Anyone parading around quoting their job description needs to take that piece of paper to their soon-to-be-scheduled job interview.
  7. Some people’s greatest skill is getting out of work. Call them on it.
  8. Thinking and planning are undervalued skills. Schedule time for both.
  9. The next time you are tempted to take on a task stop yourself and ask “who else could do this?”
  10. Imagine yourself sitting at your end-of-year evaluation or with your accountant. If the results are poorer than expected what factors were the biggest detractors?

Your challenge for the week

  1. Take out that “to do” list and delete everything that will not get you in trouble with your customers, boss, get you arrested or threaten the welfare of small children or animals.
  2. With the remaining items note who else could do the work. Now, assign them.
  3. Schedule some thinking time. Even if it is 15 minutes. Pause to look at the whole picture, imagine what it could be and what would threaten it success. Book the next thinking date.
  4. Calculate your hourly rate. Post it in a conspicuous place. Before starting something justify to yourself why you are the best person for the job.

Jane Cranston is an executive coach, career coach and “The Job Search Expert” based in New York City. She shares with success driven executives and professionals techniques, skills and goal setting strategies that advance their careers, increase people management skills and assists them in career change or job search. Receive Jane’s free "Competitive Edge Report" and the free audio download “Creating a Career Strategy” by visiting

About the Author

Jane Cranston - Executive Coach NY (New York)Executive and career coach, “The Job Search Expert,” Jane Cranston understands the challenges and opportunities in the workplace. She integrates years of experience as an accomplished senior executive with global brand name companies, with the lessons learned from opening three successful businesses, and then applies her education and coach training. This sophisticated mix affords her clients her unique perspective, business sensibility, and entrepreneurial spirit.

Jane is the founder and Managing Director of ExecutiveCoachNY, an executive and career coaching business based in New York City with clients nationwide. She coaches success-driven executives and managers to develop a career strategy that accelerates advancement, increases compensation, enhances people-management skills as well as gets the competitive edge in all business activities.

Coaching with Jane is dynamic, structured, forward-focused as well as fun and inspirational. Working with clients in fields such as finance, technology, media and entertainment, real estate, and the law, she assists them in recognizing and achieving their full potential at work and in their personal lives.

Clients claim coaching with Jane has “changed my career focus,” “helped me better understand how to motivate my staff,” “given me ideas that have increased my income by $100,000s,” and “made me realize what is my part and what isn’t,” and claim coaching is “the best thing you could do for yourself.”

Jane’s soon to be published “Great Job Tough Times” is a step-by-step job search system designed to assist managers and executives looking for employment, or contemplating leaving their current positions, with their resume writing, interviewing skills, networking techniques, and negotiating need to get the right job fast.

Jane Cranston is frequently seen on CNN’s “Your Money” and quoted in nationally syndicated newspapers, magazines, as well as Internet article sites and virtual programs. She authors the free, twice monthly, “Competitive Edge Report.” Learn more on her website


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