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Leadership Thought #454 – Be Careful About Taking On Too Much

There is a wise old saying that “if you want to get something done, then give it to a busy person.” In my experience this is a pretty accurate depiction of how families, organizations and communities work.  They “Type A” person will always assume the most responsibility and be the hub of critical activity.  Other people tend to rely on them and their boundless energy for execution.  Unfortunately, if you are not careful, this dynamic also ends up becoming somewhat dysfunctional and unhealthy as time goes on.

There is a point of diminishing returns when someone extends themselves beyond their individual capability to do well what needs to get done.  All of us only have so much bandwidth to apply to our personal and/or professional responsibilities.  What starts out as a good idea ends up becoming a burden for the responsible party and creates an unrealistic expectation for those dependent upon his/her efforts.   The energy and focus gravitates towards what’s not getting done and who is to blame rather how to best move forward.  Sadly, we end up becoming disconnected and resentful over what connected us in the first place.

Most of us in leadership positions need to say “no” more often than we currently do.  Instead of always taking on more, we need to learn to let go and take on less.  I’ve seen many talented individuals buckle under the weight of their own self-imposed pressures.  There is always a price to pay for over-commitment.  Ironically the people and things that require our most attention end up taking a backseat to lesser priorities and other distractions.  The gap between what we want and what we are getting only widens and eventually some form of a breakdown usually occurs.

It is always advisable to do a few things well rather than doing too many things in an okay or mediocre fashion.  Activity is never a good substitute for results.  We are ultimately defined not just by what we do, but what we achieve and how this aligns with what we truly value.  Be careful about taking on too much and losing sight of what’s most important in the process.


One Response

  1. Well said. Thanks for the knowledge

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