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…)
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.
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:
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.