Waiting for... Permission?

12/10/2013 02:11 pm 14:11:19 | Updated Feb 09, 2014

In addition to treating patients, early last year I took on management of the nursing department, apothecary and laboratory staff, supported the administrative and marketing teams and participated in the hiring and firing at the medical center I co-founded, Visions HealthCare.

Needless to say, I was beginning to get worn out. Realistically, I think someone can directly manage about 10 people... but 60? Not so much.

Fast forward to this summer: We hired a consultant, who concurred with another consultant that we needed a chief operating officer. It seemed like a ridiculous expense, and I worried that it would leave me without a clear role in my own company.

As we debated and started to talk about searching for someone to run our company, something interesting happened: Our consultant "named" me as the COO.

Now, I already had thought that I WAS the chief operating officer, but in light of all these people saying we needed someone to fill this role, it never occurred to me to say anything. I was essentially given permission to powerfully take on the role that I had been doing for the past year!

Because I had already been so actively involved in the day-to-day operations, I knew my first "official" order of business would be to enlist a whole new cadre of mid-level managers and team leaders to directly oversee the 75-person team we had grown to.

I've thought a lot about this "permission" that our consultant gave me, and it made me wonder if I was waiting for permission anywhere else.

It occurred to me that, for whatever reason(s) women perhaps more than men wait for permission, especially professionally. Not to say that we should be power-grabbing, but there is something very poignant about being named to a job I was doing anyway.

How about you? Do you need permission? Or will you just step into your role without waiting for someone to name you?

I give you permission.