Do The Dirty Work

Sometimes there are parts of a project you just don’t want to do.  They are stressful, tedious, or in some other way, no fun.  Pitch in and help with them.  At least the ones you can.

There is a story related in Google Rules by Laszlo Bock about Gerald Ford.  “Ron Nesson, who served as press secretary for President Gerald Ford, shared a story about his boss’s leadership style: ‘He had a dog, Liberty.  Liberty had an accident on the run in the Oval Office and one of the Navy stewards rushes in to clean it up.  Jerry Ford says, “I’ll do that.  Get out of the way, I’ll do that.  No man ought to have to clean up after another man’s dog.” ‘ ”

So when something comes along that you know is going to be painful for one or more of your project team members, find a way to help out.  No, it is probably not in your job description, but it is part of being on a team.  Even if you cannot help with the actual work, find a way to help with coordination, documentation, providing support, even just showing up with coffee, snacks, a gift certificate, or some type of recognition.  If it is a very time consuming job, talk to that person’s boss about how to make life easier for that person.  Find a way to help out.

The benefits to this are many:

  • You help out a colleague, which is always appreciated
  • You will probably learn something new or get a new appreciation of that role
  • You earn points with your team, showing you have their backs
  • The project will get done faster

This does not mean you have to take on everything, because you also have limited time, but lend a hand wherever you can and it make sense.  Getting your hands a little dirty is showing everyone that you care about them and the project.


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