One of the myths of management is that you will always have others to do things for you. In reality, there are many times as a leader when you come to the undeniable realization that the task falls to you.

Usually, these tasks are either unpleasant or unremarkable. My friend who is the de facto project manager on a new building (dot #3996) remarked that it fell to him to determine what trash cans would be located throughout the building: the types, locations, and attention to their consistency so a limited number of different bags would be required. I’ve been in situations where a committee was charged with a task where I thought the chair was the one to make the planning decisions — but instead referred the vendor to me as the point of contact. In many leadership roles, the burden of getting things done sits at the head of the table.

I am reminded of the young organizers’ adage in the civil rights movement: “If not me, who? If not now, when?” If you are responsible for a committee or unit, you have to be the one.

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