Why shouldn’t you play hero
Everyone wants to be the hero, whether at work with colleagues or at home with family and friends. We want to provide support and focus on the customer, and react immediately to every need. But sometimes being too quick to help can have some unintended consequences. Here are some reasons why not coming to the rescue may be the right thing to do.
You can be drawn to something much bigger: Everybody has done it: You have spoken in a meeting or answered an email, because you have some inside knowledge that nobody knows, that you think can help solve a problem. You want to give wise advice and move on. The people involved now see it as a critical resource who may need to be intimately involved in the project or event in the future. Unless your motivation is to take on more responsibility for the fundraiser, parent meeting, or client project, thinking twice before speaking is probably a good thing.
Things sometimes resolve themselves: For years my husband has worked in technology. Many times people will raise flags about project deliverables or user issues that seem to require immediate attention. I have seen entire teams of people mobilize into action, making plans, asking for favors, only to find that the problem has solved itself in the hours in between. Sometimes letting a few hours or even a day go by before responding to an issue can result in better use of your time and that of others.
Allow others to step forward: While we may like the feeling of being indispensable, there are often other capable people involved who can solve the problem at hand. Many times they may be the ones who ask for help first, because they have become complacent or dependent on you. If you know that someone has the skills to solve the problem, let them try it first. Letting them do so will help build trust and give you extra support when things happen in the future. And you can always step in to help, at any time, if you see that they are struggling.
I am not suggesting that you do not offer your help in situations where you believe that doing so can have a significant positive impact. Just take the time before you react, to assess the situation and see if you really need your help, or if it’s time to let someone else wear the cape.