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Can You Be Too Responsible as a Manager?

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Do you often pay attention to the needs of others but neglect your own, or say “yes” to most things you’re asked to do — but then feel resentful? If so, these could be signs that you have an overactive sense of responsibility as a manager. Don’t wait until you feel bitter and burned out to address this problem. First, think of turning over responsibilities as an act of empowerment. By allowing employees to struggle with a new task and learn to solve their own problems, you’re helping them develop greater competence and confidence. Start small by identifying one responsibility you can hand off to a specific person — for example, assigning a simple administrative task to a direct report. Expect a few hiccups at first, but resist the temptation to jump back in. Next, practice saying “no” to new requests when your plate is full — and saying “yes” when someone offers to take something off your plate. Finally, rather than taking on your team’s emotions, practice cognitive empathy: taking on another’s perspective to understand what they’re feeling, without feeling it yourself.

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