You’re great. You really, really are.

You can plan a school event, design the school newsletter, organize a PTO meeting, get dinner on the plates, check homework, and coach the soccer team—all in the same week.

When something goes wrong with your parent group, who’s there to step in? You, of course! When a volunteer misses an assignment or just isn’t up to the job, you come to the rescue.

You’re the Jedi Volunteer, but—hate to tell you—you may also be your own worst enemy and not quite as good for your school as you think.

I know the time you put in and the passion you have for providing the best for your school and the kids. Don’t get me wrong; PTO Today is all about celebrating and serving people just like you. You’re not intending to do harm, and you’re certainly doing a great deal of good.

But the same passion that drives you can wind up hurting your group’s ability to really make a difference at your school. No matter how terrific you are, you’re just one person, and even the best “one person” can’t achieve what a whole crew of motivated and empowered volunteers can do together.

The question that you need to ask yourself is “Could my type A personality actually be getting in the way of my group’s success?” It’s worth some thought.

The pattern is very common in PTOs and PTAs. You have a knack for getting things done well and for time management. You’re good at juggling many tasks and staying organized. You’re not easily overwhelmed. Based on all of that, you quickly move up the leadership ladder, and—if you’re not yet the president—everyone knows you soon will be.

The events you run (or the treasury you organize or the newsletter you edit) are the best your school has seen for a while.

You get so into it that eventually you become known around school as “the PTO lady” or “the PTO guy,” and it’s meant as a compliment. And you kind of like it.

But then one day you look around and wonder why you don’t have enough help. Or you get a little frustrated that this whole big operation is almost solely in your hands. You can’t figure out why an event can’t happen without your involvement.

The answer is that you made it so. In all of your type A-ness, you went and created a group that is way too reliant on you and that—perhaps even worse—turns off potentially great volunteers.

What would happen to your group if you got sick or had to take care of a sick relative for an extended period of time? You do know your kids will be leaving the school someday, right? Will you be leaving a group that can thrive without you? Can only another you make things work? That’s a recipe for problems.

Even more, if you are trying to recruit help, are you really surprised that people aren’t stepping up to fill your shoes? They’re size 99s! Unknowingly, you may have created the impression that being PTO president is a full-time job that only Super Volunteer can handle. Very few people will willingly step up to that standard. You’ve created a job (or the impression of a job) that no one wants.

Growing a bank of regular, solid volunteers takes time and patience and a willingness to allow for less than perfection. You have to let those regular volunteers perform regularly and perhaps not add the custom-designed clip art to page 6 of the color-coded newsletter. It has to be OK for a sane time commitment to be enough. It has to be OK to drop a few events or efforts while you build that bank of volunteers, even though you know you could make every one of them happen with your Jedi tricks and magic lightsaber.

In the end, the only real recipe for sustained strength and an ever-refreshing group of solid new leaders is to make it much more reasonable for the average volunteer to get involved and feel successful. Your group can do far, far more (and research says it’s far better for the school as a whole) if it has 10 or 20 solid volunteers rather than a single stalwart.

Perhaps your greatest Jedi challenge will be letting the Force relax and keeping your lightsaber in its holster.