Are You a “Too-Generous” Manager?

As a leader, you need to be there for your team. It’s one of your primary responsibilities.

That’s one of my mantras that kept me going, even through the roughest of times in my corporate position. But, is there a possibility that you could be too generous of a manager? I mean, is that a real thing? Yes, it is! There are times when your generosity might be going beyond what’s going to work and be the right choice for you, for the employee, and even for the organization. When I accepted my promotion going into 2013, that was leading to my burnout.

During that year of taking on so much just within my roles and responsibilities, I was definitely too generous at times with my team. I never said no when they asked me for help, I never thought of other options or solutions. If they came to me, I took it on. And it did not benefit me, although it may have benefited them on the surface level. But that extreme, too much generosity definitely led to part of my burnout.

I was not supporting my own well-being and I wasn’t helping to really meet the organization’s goals, because it was pulling me possibly away from doing an effective, kick-ass job at what they asked me to focus on. On the flip side, that extreme generosity didn’t necessarily support my team members in the way that it would help them grow and develop. Saying yes all of the time to just taking on things from your team doesn’t afford them the opportunity to rise to the level; for them to seek additional answers, for them to tap into their other resources, and really grow into themselves, into their own roles.

So as we think about, is it possible to be too generous? The answer is yes! Think about those times when you are being asked to do something or you are starting to volunteer, evaluate whether or not it’s going to be right for you. What might it be pulling you away from that you ultimately need to be prioritizing and focusing on, and how might it be impeding that person from their own development and growth? You know, I love to share stories about being a parent, and this is one of the things that I evaluated as my kids were growing up.

I would often say, and still to this day, if someone were to ask me, what’s your biggest responsibility as a parent? Outside of the obvious of keeping my kids safe, I always say, my biggest responsibility is to raise my kids to be independent adults. That is really what my role as a leader, as a mom, is for my kids. So that I’m empowering them. Yes, am I there, am I generous? Am I there to support them when they need me? Am I guiding and coaching them? Absolutely!

But I’m not jumping in to rescue them and do things for them. Otherwise, they’re going to be here relying on me for the rest of their life, which doesn’t make them a successful human being in their own life. Think about it that same way – you as a leader. Start to create some of those boundaries that are going to support you to be successful in your role, for your employee to be successful and grow in their role and beyond, and to meet your organization’s needs. There is such a thing as being too generous, so let’s watch where we’re at as leaders!