I am working on a major project with a colleague and we divided up the tasks equitably. Some tasks he is doing 100% and I am taking on other tasks, but we were both comfortable with the contribution of each other.

External events recently caused some circumstances to change, but we plodded on with the same workload distribution. Ironically, both of us recognized the need to realign some responsibilities but were hesitant to broach the subject: one for fear of being seen as doing too little and the other for fear of being seen as taking over or taking on too much. Once the topic was raised, we were able to quickly, amicably and appropriately shift who was doing what. It will make for a better project in the end and go a long way toward saving our sanity on the road to get there.

We often make asking for help harder than it should be. We internalize it as a sign of weakness when instead it is a sign of strength. It reminded me of the BRAVING acronym promoted by Brene Brown as a litmus test to define and develop trust-filled relationships. The “N” stands for NonJudgment: “I can ask for what I need, and you can ask for what you need. We can talk about how we feel without judgment.”  I was grateful that I could have such a conversation focused on solutions instead of drama or guilt.

The next time your circumstances change and you need to adjust your responsibilities, I hope you find yourself in a partnership where a foundation of BRAVING has been established. Start today to cultivate it in all your relationships that matter.

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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