I am help­ing a leader with a com­plex com­pany project and after a ses­sion when we found a way how to tackle a par­tic­u­lar sit­u­a­tion, he looked at me and said: How come I didn’t fig­ure it out myself, with­out you?

Well, it is an inter­est­ing point for any leader.

Whether a CEO, GM or a team leader there will be a time when you are going to have no idea what is the best next step. Or what your answer should be. Or how to han­dle an issue you are fac­ing. (Believe it or not…)

imagesFirstly, here are a few don’ts for you:

Don’t expect to have all answers

Even the best lead­ers do not know all the answers or have the best ideas, solu­tions or direc­tions. It is not their job any­way. Even if your team mem­bers might expect that of you. They are sim­ply wrong.

Don’t have all the answers

If you are the smartest guy in your com­pany, your com­pany is in trouble.

Besides, if you do hap­pen to have the best answers and share them all the time, you are doing three things to your staff:

a/ you teach them not to use their brains at work and become lazy,

b/ you teach them not to take any respon­si­bil­ity for anything,

c/ you do not use the great poten­tial and ideas your staff might have.

Don’t panic

It may seem like a silly point… how­ever, I have seen quite a few lead­ers hav­ing a panic attack after being asked a ques­tion they had no idea how to answer. Pan­ick­ing makes things worse. Don’t pre­tend to be a super hero either, if noth­ing else, it looks funny. Besides, your peo­ple know when you don’t know.

Now, a list of 3 main TO DO points:

Keep calm

Very few things in busi­ness belong to a life or death cat­e­gory. Do not get over­whelmed by the issue. Start pro­ceed­ing one step at the time. Start with what is known, where are we? Then move to where do we need to get, what do we want to achieve? And last, ask how do we get there?

Use your team

Pick their brains. Ask them ques­tions such as: How would you/how should we .…? What would you sug­gest …? Involve them. Use their poten­tial. Increase their own­er­ship of the com­pany prob­lems. Build their respon­si­bil­ity towards things hap­pen­ing in your company.

Use exter­nal people

There is one thing they have that many lead­ers and inter­nal peo­ple do not have. They have a heli­copter view which is dis­at­tached from the issue. It could be an exter­nal con­sul­tant or a coach that you know. It could be your friend or a spouse (never under­es­ti­mate your spouse’s opin­ion :) ). These peo­ple will always bring an inter­est­ing per­spec­tive or a fresh, new light to your situation.

Remem­ber one impor­tant thing here. You are not a leader because you know every­thing and have all the answers. You are a leader because you know how to coor­di­nate inter­nal and exter­nal brains to col­lect infor­ma­tion, opin­ions, advice, sug­ges­tions based on which you can make the best deci­sion. That’s your role as a leader.

 

 

 

 

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