Stop Picking Up After Everyone Else

Walking through a park I came upon this sign. Whose heart wouldn't melt looking at the face of this dog? And if you have ever been walking through a park or public area and, well, stepped in Rover's droppings, you know how important it is to obey the sign's message.

While chuckling at the sign and container of blue bags attached to the past, I also thought about a conversation I had with someone recently. They were lamenting their work overload and commented about how they were frequently having to "clean up" after the poor work performance of some of their direct reports. When I asked about why they didn't more directly address the problem, they said, "I just hate to get things stirred up."

Too many of us are afraid of "stirring things up," so we shoulder our work load and part of someone else's too. The quality of our work suffers and our stress levels increase, while the other person (or people) just keep on..... well you know what I mean.

If you are finding yourself frequently having to take on the "mess" left by someone else, it's time to stop and address the issue. Maybe they don't even realize how their efforts (or lack of effort) are affecting your performance. Their may be valid reason for their actions, including incomplete information or a skill deficiency. They may not care how you feel... but you won't know until you start the conversation. Get the talk started out on the right path by using phrases like "Help me understand" or "I need your help with something" or "I have noticed...."

You have too many important things planned to forego them just because someone else doesn't realize how their actions are inhibiting your performance. Yes, the "poop may hit the fan," but aren't you tired of picking up after everyone else?