Why you end up doing other people’s work

Listen on:

Nothing is more frustrating than feeling like you can’t do your job because someone else is not doing theirs.  It feels like you don’t have time to teach them or hold them accountable so often we just do it for them.

That’s fine in the moment, but it’s not possible to do everyone’s job and it’s just adding to your stress and overwhelm.

For example, maybe you’re responsible for your teams’ monthly business review and you need each leader to submit their updates. You probably sent out a schedule, gave directions on where to put the information and started working on your part. Chances are, someone missed the deadline and another person submitted it wrong. Or maybe someone submitted information that was confusing and missing data.

We end up spending time chasing things down, but at the end of the day we end up doing their work and fixing it. We are the ones responsible for pulling it all together so we don’t want to look bad.

This happening once or twice is fine, but when it’s constant and happening across multiple projects, it’s easy to quickly get overwhelmed and burnout.

No one wants to work when they feel like they can’t get ahead. It’s not motivating to work hard on projects when no one else seems to care about doing their part. It’s impossible to micro manage and double check every detail.

At some point, you have to hold others accountable to do their job so you can do yours. But how do you actually do that?

Instead of trying to tell them HOW to do it, you have to focus on the WHAT. What do you need from them in order to move the project forward. They get to figure out how to get it, but the more specific and clear you are on the what, the less time you will spend trying to tell them how to do it.

Now be warned this is easier said than done. People want the how. They want to know exactly how to do the thing you are asking so they don’t have to figure it out, but guess what. Our jobs are to figure out how.

So if you are feeling overwhelmed because you feel like you have to do everyone else’s work so you can do yours, focus on being more clear and direct with WHAT you need from them and encourage them to get creative on figuring out HOW to do that.

If you want help figuring out how to do this with your work, let’s jump on the phone and figure it out together. Grab time on my calendar to connect.

You got this.


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Hey, I’m Lindsay Lyman

I spent the last ~12 years growing my career at Amazon. I’ve built teams, launched new products, and created my own jobs. As a certified coach, I teach people how to manage the noise in their head to feel motivated and valued at work again.

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