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Let the Experts Be the Experts

Last week I went to a local hair salon to get my usual trim.  The salon just opened in January and they’ve already seen huge success as they focus on top-notch customer relations.  I could go on and on about the personalized service I received – from the aromatherapy treatment to the hand massage – but that’s not the point.

The point is, my stylist told me something incredibly insightful.  And we’re not talking small talk.  She had a life-sized moment of clarity to share with me.  She said:

“One of the most damaging things you can do to a person is to do something for them that they are capable of doing themselves.” 

Maybe that doesn’t sound groundbreaking at first glance.  But think about it.  The worst thing is doing something for someone that they can do for themselves.  

Here’s why:

  • It discredits individual achievement.  When you take away somebody’s project, you also take away their bragging rights.  Let them do the work, and get the praise.
  • It displaces confidence and mutual trust.  Allowing someone to exercise their strengths gives them the opportunity to build confidence in their own work.  It also allows them to form a sense of mutual trust with you, proving capability and quality.  It’s pretty insulting to show someone that you dislike their work, and even more so to imply that they aren’t capable of doing it correctly.
  • It develops a sense of entitlement.  If you keep doing tasks for people, they might start to think they deserve your service.  Be careful that you don’t create a situation that involves unhealthy dependency.
  • It disables skill sets.  When you take on a task that does not suit your strengths, it’s like forcing a square peg into a round hole.  For example, if you’re not an analytical person, why get frazzled trying to crunch numbers on a spreadsheet when your colleague who excels in that area would take great pride in doing that?  Focus on what you’re good at.  Not on your weaknesses.

As a parent, I know these principles are true.  As a businesswoman, I’ve seen this happen in the workplace numerous times.  The result of doing something that someone can do for themselves is inefficiency.  It really is best to let each person reap the rewards of their own labor.

So let the experts be the experts.  Especially when it comes to hair style.

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