If it stresses you out, it’s not your job

I keep learning this lesson over and over again, so I’m writing it here in an effort to never forget again. As a manager, if some task constantly stresses me out or makes me feel uneasy, it’s probably because I’m doing someone else’s job.

I don’t mean someone’s being lazy and I’m picking up their slack. I’m talking about those nagging little annoying things (or huge, scary things in some cases) you find yourself doing as infrequently as you can and do a half-assed job at every time. So you not only stress because they’re in the way of your real work but you stress because you suck at them.

Every time I allow myself to notice this feeling–every time I analyze what’s causing it, I discover it’s because I should be delegating this work to someone else. Usually, in a mature organization, it’s even obvious who the work should go to.

The beautiful thing about being a manager of people is that your core job includes uncluttering your and everyone else’s work days by nudging or moving tasks to a home where they can be lovingly completed.

I help startups succeed. CTO, speaker, author, investor — currently @microsoft @blueyard

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