Lifting the Leader’s Load

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We all face challenges in our day-to-day lives. Leaders are no different, but sometimes the loads they bear can feel enormous. The more responsibilities we have, the heavier our burdens can feel, and sometimes it can be difficult to ask for help.

This is why load lifters so quickly rise through the ranks of organizations. Anyone who is willing to work with those around them, to help out when needed, or before the need is even recognized, quickly becomes a valuable member of any team.

The Benefits

Helping out with a heavy load shows the people you work with that you’re interested in being part of the team. You need not help everyone with every challenge, but by assisting when you can, you make it clear, even to those you haven’t helped directly, that you’re someone who can be counted on.

The first few times you lend a hand, you can expect a heart-felt “thank you.” Bonds begin to form and trust builds. Once you’ve had several opportunities to lift a load for your leader, you begin to transform into an irreplaceable member of the team. Lifters are valuable, and good leaders recognize that value. After considerable time has passed and you have proven yourself to be a consistent source of lifting power, an amazing thing happens. Those you have been doing the lifting for will begin to ask how they can help you

How To Lift Your Boss’ Load

  1. Do Your Own Job Well. The first step in any situation is to do your own job well, every time. If you attempt to reach out and provide assistance when your own tasks are incomplete or inadequate, the result will be an increase in stress for your boss, so always begin with yourself. Use your actions to show that you’re ready for more responsibility. Words are cheap. Instead of talking about the things you will get done, focus on doing them to the best of your ability.
  2. Go The Second Mile. Once you’ve done your own job well, don’t run immediately to the boss to see what you can do for him/her. First take a look around you and see what more you can do on your own. Take the initiative to go the extra mile and do more than was asked. Details that seem minor can add up to make a big impression.
  3. Ask How You Can Help. Once you’ve done everything you can do on your own, and done it to the best of your ability, simply ask your boss what you can do to help them out. It may be a simple, every-day chore that is slowing them down, or you may find yourself in charge of bigger and more exciting projects, simply by asking.
  4. Propose A Solution. You will immediately launch yourself into a category of valuable associates if, when you notice a problem, you first take the initiative to seek out a solution. Do research. Ask around. When you think you know the best way to solve a problem, then it’s time to approach your leader. For complicated problems, it’s not a bad idea to have a few solutions up your sleeve. As a load lifter you carry two metaphorical buckets everywhere you go. One is filled with water, the other gasoline. When you come across small fires you decide which bucket to use. Choose wisely.
  5. Be Honest. One of the heaviest weights to bear is honesty, but the long-term payoff is well worth the initial discomfort. Good bosses know not to shoot the messenger. If you can responsibly and diplomatically tell the manager what they need to know (not what they want to hear), you will become a trusted ally.
  6. Speak Up. Similar to embracing honesty, speaking up in defense of your boss can be hard. Some decisions made by higher ups will be unpopular, and less wise individuals may be inclined to gossip. Should you find yourself in the vicinity of such idle chatter, speak up on your boss’ behalf. You will become known for your diplomacy and integrity.

Lifting loads for others is not about letting others take advantage. Instead, astute individuals see any assistance they lend as paying it forward, to the load lifters who came before. As they advance through the ranks, as good load lifters will undoubtedly do, they will inevitably have their hands full with bigger and bigger challenges. When assistance comes from an unexpected source, they’ll know they’ve found a kindred spirit, likewise bound for excellence.

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