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Beware of the Monkey on the Back

The other day, I was reading an article on Harvard Business Review, I came across an analogy that looked like the story of my life.

You know it always feels good to be the “Go to Guy”.

Problems originate on people’s desks and we all know their overall destination is your desk. If care is not taken,my Brother You will run down and burn out really fast.

Now to the Monkey-on-the-back analogy.

Let us assume Your name is Ade, you are a Team/Unit Lead in your organization. One morning while walking into the lobby of the office, You meet Tunde one of your team members. Hey Ade!, Tunde goes, I am encountering a small problem with the Ekiti Project I am working on can You help out?. Sure Yes You reply, send me the project dossier and I will get back to You.

You know what just happened?

Tunde had a problem (call that the Monkey on his back) and he has successfully delegated that to You. Tunde has successfully done to You what Bosses do to their sub-ordinates (Delegation). At that point in time, You are technically Tunde’s sub-ordinate. And then every now and then, Tunde will call to check on You, Hey Ade, How is it going with with Ekiti Project?. Tunde is doing what we call Supervision. He has technically transformed from your sub-ordinate to your Boss and your Supervisor just because You willingly took the Monkey on his back.

Does that story sound familiar? To me, it is technically the story of my life (well not anymore).

Now imagine how many Monkeys you take on your back on a daily basis?

The monkeys on your back are exactly the reason why 24 hours doesnt seem to be enough for You.

So what do You do instead?

  1. Stop taking people’s Monkeys from their backs.
  2. Dont take on tasks casually, instead schedule a proper meeting be it online or offline where you will;
  3. Help people manage their Monkeys instead of handing them over to You.

A word they say is enough for the wise but I have provided You over 360 words in this posts. I believe that should be enough for 360+ people.

Selah = Pause and think about this.


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