One of the common mistakes of a leader is taking on responsibilities that could easily be cared for by others.
Overloading your own leadership plate with non-essentials is a surefire way to invite criticism and distrust. One of the easiest and most readily applicable is with phone-call returns.
Your phone rings in the middle of a meeting. You answer it and in hushed tones, say: “I’m in a meeting. I’ll call you back in half an hour.”
What you have just done is load your responsibility plate with another non-essential that you may easily forget. The meeting ends, and you forget to return the call… setting you up for criticism.
“You never called me back!”
Instead, when you receive a call when busy, say: “I’m in a meeting. Could you call me back in 30 minutes?”
Now you have assigned responsibility to them, and if they forget, you are exonerated. You can do this for any phone call. Stop saying, “I’ll call you back.” Instead say, “Would you please call me back?”
The above is a reposting of a previously published article from the Mentoring Leaders archive.