You’re always there for other people — your friends, clients, customers, and especially your co-workers. If you see a way to make things better, you go above and beyond to make it happen no matter what, whether that means staying late or doing the work for everyone else. You can’t resist. Stepping in to help is a point of pride for you.
Everyone wants to work for this type of devoted leader. But there’s a difference between a strong work ethic and being addicted to your job, like my client Becky was. Becky, a vice president of marketing at a top tech company in San Francisco, loved the fast-paced nature of her job. Lately, though, she was overfunctioning to the point of exhaustion.
Becky’s executive team tasked her with guiding a company-wide rebranding effort. Yet every time Becky and I talked, she complained that she couldn’t find time to focus on creating the rebranding strategy. She spent countless hours every night pitching in to help with retail store openings, setting up booths, and merchandising stock. Even though Becky’s staff was in charge of these duties, she couldn’t resist her compulsion to step in and save the day. She wanted to trust her staff, but her workaholic tendencies made it tough to let go. “It’s not my job,” she told me. “I probably should delegate it, but I want the work done right.”