One of the biggest frustrations we hear from people in leadership is that they have to be available to their teams “all the time” to answer questions and solve problems. They say that they read about dream teams that know how to move forward in the face of challenges but their team just doesn’t get it.
When we ask them to share some examples of how this plays out, we often hear a long history of our client (as team leader) either spotting an issue or hearing about a problem and stepping in to help resolve it.
While that seems like a practical thing to do in the face of a problem, it does nothing to develop the team’s ability to get the work done on their own. In fact, it communicates to the team that the leader doesn’t believe that they can figure this out independently or move forward effectively.
We remind these leaders that their role is to develop and support their teams in learning to:
- Define whether the issue is with the process (or lack of!), or the people involved.
- Then, dig deep and really define the problem – look for the root cause of issues rather than just treating the obvious symptoms.
- Engage others in providing input and feedback on their ideas and possible solutions.
- Identify who in leadership needs to be involved or informed (including their boss).
- Get stakeholders involved to creating the path for action and reviewing and refining as they go forward.
The most successful teams are skilled at leading through a challenge because they are systematic in their approach to solving even the most complex of issues. They use their skills to look for the root cause of the issue and then engage others to achieve success.
When you’re the manager or leader of a team, it’s important to build autonomy by increasing the team’s mastery in finding solutions to problems that arise. Giving the team opportunities to succeed (and sometimes fail) is critical to building the dream team that will outperform your wildest expectations.
Remember, it takes a village!
– Linda, Stephanie, and Heather