Leaders Know It’s “For Us” or “With Me,” Not “For Me”

Servant leadership is about looking for opportunities to meet the needs presented to us. So, when we have simple tasks on our plate, it’s natural to ask someone:

“Would you please do that for me?”

The “for me” is such a common phase, we do not think much about it. In essence, we are asking someone to remove a task from our own to-do list, right? Nothing wrong with that, of course. But what if we reserve this commonplace phrase for when the relationship with the someone has been built and delegation has become a habit? Until then, consider changing the phrase to something like:

“Will you please do this with me?”

When training a new hire, this approach builds the relationship and shows you’re not above doing the basics. It also allows you to see how they work, giving you the chance to identify possible future trouble spots.

Then, when you feel it’s time to say, “Would you please do that for me?” consider another little switch:

“Would you please do that for us?”

The phrase “for us” implies the task is for the benefit of the team, not just to lessen the boss’s to-do list. Each task, job, or project is work which benefits the mission of the team and the organization.

Variations on “for us”:

  • “Could you do that to advance the project?”
  • “Will you do that for the team?”

Over the next week, watch for moments when you’re tempted to ask someone to do something for you. Instead, catch yourself and rephrase with “with me” or ask them to do it “for us.”

Thanks for reading,

Alan Feirer

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