You shouldn’t “improve” everything
“Yesterday, thousands of people got married. Just about every one of these weddings went beautifully. Amazingly, you weren’t there, on-site, making sure everything was perfect.
“When we’re in the room, it’s really difficult to sit back and let other people do their work . . . More often than not, we give in to temptation and wrest away control . . . Caring matters. Your contribution makes things better. But when the need for control starts to get in the way of your people doing their best work . . .”*
Remember that we learn best when we have difficulty – there’s no use lifting a two-pound weight over and over, day after day, for weeks. Initially we improve – then we accommodate to the resistance and further improvement is marginal or absent.
Similarly, our fellow officers need to define problems in their areas of responsibility, and solve them. Sometimes we know we could do the job faster or better; witness the Speech Contest chair that just orders in the snacks and sets up the Opportunity Drawing herself. She gets the job done, but she deprives members of the opportunity to encounter difficulties, strive, succeed and learn.
Or, as an Area Director we just “sign off” on club officers’ training so the club will have points toward Distinguished status. We deprive the officers and the club of the opportunity to solve problems and grow.
That’s not to say we shouldn’t help. But, as leaders, we can often help best by suggesting ideas, listening to gripes, and reassuring the timid. Doing the job for them improves our numbers – “I’m going to get a ‘Distinguished Area award’ because this will be my third club to “go Distinguished.” But our short cut cheats the club and its leaders.
Solving a club’s problems, doing their work, earning their recognition for them; it all seems so satisfying. We’re needed. We’re good at solving the problems.
I believe that when we do this we’re being cowards. We’re afraid to risk looking bad if our clubs don’t get the awards. We cheat the club to improve our own status.
Remember that wedding in Baton Rouge. Help the club officers solve their club’s problems, but don’t solve them for the club leaders. They need the challenge, and they’ll almost always respond well. Unless we’ve convinced them that we’ll do it for them.