Monkey see, monkey do

– old ‘saying’

I am all for delegation, splitting responsibilities, and definitely asking for help from a colleague and co-worker, but it doesn’t mean anyone should just be handed the work of another.

It doesn’t matter if you’re working with an amazing team or not, everyone falls to laziness, procrastination, or avoidance, and will try to drop their tasks off on someone else…

…to evade their own responsibilities or simply to escape doing a boring or tedious activity.

This happens more often than we may expect, and while you wish to support your team where possible, you have your own specific tasks and things to get done.

I remember years ago a previous boss and mentor realized I was drowning in my own tasks, as well as others; I was finding time to take care of things outside of my responsibility, my department, and my focus trying to help a teammate here and there due to specific skills that seemed easier for me than it was for those who owned the task.

While my mentor was all for teammates helping each other out, he realized I was taking too much on myself and somewhat ‘being used’ to do other people’s work…not just helping, consulting, or guiding. So beyond being drowned and affecting my quality of work, I was helping them avoid theirs, and they weren’t learning anything.

He simply told me that I should stop taking care of other people’s monkeys. I laughed and thought he was joking, but he quickly explained how people will always try to drop off their monkey at every chance they get…it is in their nature; people are automatically lazy and will always look for an easy way out.

Since then, I became slightly pickier on where and how I assist, and whether it is a handoff or an honest ask for help. In short, I got my own monkeys I need to take care, I ain’t got time to take care of others’ monkeys. Sometimes I even catch myself saying under my breathe (and rarely even out loud): ‘It’s not my monkey to care for’. 🙂