Over It. For Black women ‘over it’ is a distinct feeling. It’s an emotion that we know deeply, even when we don’t have the words to adequately explain it. For many, the feeling comes from being asked and tasked to do too much. It’s a reminder that you have let all your boundaries lapse or you feel like you have no control over how you spend your time. I believe this ‘over it’ feeling is a shared experience among Black women leading in America.
✓ You’re dreading getting out of bed in the morning.
✓ You feel yourself rolling your eyes time anyone stops by your office/pings you on IM/sends you an email.
✓ During team meetings, you avoid eye contact so no one asks your opinion or volunteers you for another project.
I know you feel me!
If you chuckled at any of the items above try these five tips to move from over it to about it:
- Figure out what ‘freedom’ means to you and lead from that place. Thanks to Attica Locke for the nuggets: https://youtube.com/shorts/DyGCAdHGE88?feature=share!
- Remind yourself that meetings ain’t work! Let me say it again. Being in meetings is not (usually) when you get things done. If you don’t have work blocks on your calendar, you’re likely taking work home or seriously behind. Neither is sustainable. HBR put out a piece on overworked teams that is worth a read: https://hbr.org/2022/10/how-to-intervene-when-your-team-has-too-much-work
- Get yourself a delegation. Listen. We can’t be at all the places all the time. That’s played all the way out (in my 90s voice). You need to know your team well(direct reports, supervisors, interns, other departments, etc.). Where do they excel? What is their capacity to step into more leadership? Are you leveraging their areas of expertise? Utilize your delegation strategically and work becomes more purposeful for everyone.
- Reclaim your power. Make sure you know your team goals, organizational logic models, work plan, etc. like the back of your plan. Use your calendar to track how you spend your time (i.e. color-coded by your big rocks) and document your work (I used to have a spreadsheet of every presentation and major accomplishment/contribution). Doing both of these things ensures you have good data and feedback to share with your supervisor during review time. This allows you to use data to amplify things that don’t align and to advocate for bonuses, promotions, and the like. Also, see tip 1 again. Freedom and power go hand-in-hand.
- Free yourself. One of the greatest challenges for Black women leaders is being able to step away from things they have invested so much time and energy into. This commitment ‘see it through’ can be to our detriment. Revisit tip 1 and ask yourself, am I leading from a free space? Has my leadership outgrown or become misaligned with this opportunity? Have an idea of how you’ll get yourself back to a liberated, aligned space when you find things off track.
I hope at least one of these tips is useful. Message me on LinkedIn and let me know!
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