It is a common mistake we make as leaders, thinking we have to have all of the answers all of the time. Here is a newsflash for you – we don’t! In fact it is better for our teams if we don’t. If we are always supplying the answer to “what now?” our teams have no motivation to problem solve on their own and the team’s success is limited by our scope of knowledge. Neither is beneficial for peak performance. Here are a few things to consider the next time you are asked to jump in and “save the day”.
- Does your team have the knowledge they need to make good decisions? If you are doing a good job of mentoring your team, they won’t need you for everything. They will know how to weigh the options and will have valid, logical reasons for their decision – even if it turns out to be the wrong one.
- Does the answer have major consequences? Especially if the decision is small, push your team to decide without involving you. It is very possible that valuable information will be learned if they head down the wrong path for a short while and then have to change direction. If there are no earth shattering consequences with either choice, let them go with the one they think is best.
- Are you willing to stand behind their decision? Even when you aren’t involved in the decision making process it is your job to support your team – including when they are wrong. If you are going to throw them under the bus, then by all means, please make all the decisions for them. And plan on losing all of your best talent because they won’t put up with that for long.
For those decisions that you can’t delegate to your team, relax, you still don’t have to know all the answers. You just have to know where to find them. And sometimes that is the best answer.
Do you struggle with trying to have all the answers and make all the decisions? What challenges or benefits to you have with it? I would love to read you comments.