#straightfromcait: As "THE BOSS" Are You Shouldering More Responsibility Than You Should? (A Fan Q)
Hey Fried Fans,
This week’s #straightfromcait episode is the answer to a fan question (I love those, so if you have one that YOU want answered, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: FAN QUESTION and I’ll get to it, it usually takes me about a month to get the episode out and it’s so much fun for me to give you exactly what you need. Here’s the Q:
So, the holidays are coming up and if you’re the boss of a department it’s kinda expected that everyone else can take vacation time around the holidays but not you, because someone has to be on deck. So this means, year after year, you work the week of Thanksgiving and the week of Xmas. How do you juggle the expectation that if you’re the boss, your needs come second to your subordinate without getting burnt?
OK, my friend. Let’s break this down a little. First, we need to look at the assumptions in this Q. You state: it’s ‘kinda expected’ that everyone else can take vacation time around the holidays but not you. Is this 100% true or is this a story that you told yourself because you took the responsibility on because YOU learned at some point in your life that this is how you think it ‘should’ be (if you missed the episode on shoulding, head back a few weeks and listen in, it’s a good one). You start juggling this expectation by checking yourself. Use these Q’s:
Where did this expectation come from?
Why do you believe it?
What actions have you taken as the boss in previous years that may lead you to believe this is true?
What actions have you taken as the boss in previous years that may lead your team to believe that this is true?
The basic facts of the matter are this: your needs DON’T come second to your team’s needs. But now, you’re going to have to change the rules of the game on them and you’ll have to expect some blowback.
Here’s how it goes:
First, you need to decide on a new system. Are you going to rotate the holidays within your team, so one person takes thanksgiving and the other xmas? Is one person going to get the whole year of holidays and then the next 2 or 3 years off (depending on the size of your team) or is there a better solution that you see? I can’t tell you what all the options are without knowing more specifics about the business and the team, but suffice it to say, there’s a better system than leaving all the responsibility eggs in the leaders basket.
Second, you need to decide how to present the new system - WITHOUT EMOTION and WITHOUT MENTIONING that you’ve done it in the past for years and years and now you need a break. YOU’RE THE BOSS - you make the rules. Turning yourself into a victim for working the past years will make whoever gets this year’s holidays feel like THEY are the victim.
So, it might sound something like this:
Hi Everyone, The holidays are coming up and the system for who works the holidays is changing this year. We are going to start rotating who works the week of Thanksgiving and Xmas so that everyone has the opportunity to take real time off during the holidays. This Thanksgiving will be (team member a) and Xmas will be (team member b). If you need to switch with each other, that’s no problem - just be sure that the communication is clear and the person who will be responsible for those days is available. If you’re going to make any changes amongst each other, please let me know by the end of next week. Thank you! :)
Third, you actually have to have this conversation. Open your zoom room and get chatting. Remember to be as neutral as possible, this is NOT an emotional conversation and it will work better if it’s presented that way. Prepare yourself for discord and blowback. Changing the rules in the middle of the game will be met with some grunting and disapproval. That’s okay. Brene Brown and Oprah remind us that we cannot live brave lives without disappointing some people.
They will survive. And you’ll get that break that you need and deserve.
I hope that was helpful!
Lately, there have been a lot of questions about boundaries, balancing being vs. doing, handling energy preservation, and energy replenishing in your day to day lives. I do have an online course on this called Build Better Boundaries but what I’ve been hearing from you is that you want a live version of this course so that we can dig a little deeper and that you can have support along the way.
I’m listening and we’re starting Nov 15th. The class is 8 weeks long, and we’ll break for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years - so our finish date will be late January. I think this is the PERFECT time to work on boundaries because we’re in, as I like to call it, BOUNDARY SEASON! Doing this class now ensures that you start next year with some bonus energy, some skills for replenishing your own energy sans caffeine, and everything you need to create killer boundaries.
The link to join is here, I hope you'll hang with us! :)