6 steps to creating the ULTIMATE SOLUTION FINDING TEAM!
My career for many years has been around mentoring. Within all successful mentoring relationships there is a common thread of creating a safe environment. The same is true with the teams that we work with.
YOUR STAFF CAN BE THE ULTIMATE SOLUTION FINDING EXPERTS…. If YOU are strong enough to “handle it.”
yeah…. yeah…. yeah…. I hear you…. you’re a good manager. You do what the books say, you review the data, you know how to evaluate, how to give direction, how to ensure that they have SMART goals. But that’s not the challenge…. leadership is the challenge.
I had the great pleasure for the last nine years to work with the same team of people. I served as their “leader” and they lovingly (i think) called me “The Master”. The master of what? I’m not really sure because honestly, they were the experts. And that is the challenge for the leadership of an organization! As the leader of a team, are you comfortable within your capacities to accept and act on the fact that your team is a resource to all that you do?
The team I worked with had a detail oriented, timeline developer, and a cut-through-the-bubble-wrap, lay out the true issue specialist. There was a go-to gal and the one who could edit all documents. I knew each of their strengths and played to them. But this team….. they ran the day to day activities that made our organization and programs a success. This team was strong and if I was the Master of anything….. it was the ability to see them as a or rather, THE resource.
They knew the issues. Actually better than anyone, they knew the issues. They had ideas on how to address, solve or route around issues. They had answers and knowledge that only those with feet on the ground have. And together we worked for nine years, with hundreds of thousands of students and families, working to make a real impact of those lives we touched.
All staffs have the potential to be that tight cohesive team, but it is the role of the leader to create an environment for them to thrive, support and ultimately be successful.
ARE YOU THAT LEADER? The following steps can help.
- Create a Safe Environment – The greatest gift you can give to your staff is to create a safe and comfortable environment to thrive. Trust me people WANT to be successful, they WANT to do well and thrive, they WANT to feel part of the team. Give them the place where they can do just that… where they feel safe to share ideas, thoughts, questions.
- Allow the team to identify areas that need attention – Here is where the CAN YOU HANDLE IT part comes into play… let your employees — ALL employees — to identify real issues or EVEN BETTER IF’s. What would make our day EVEN BETTER IF…. we did this…. or changed that…. or added an extra **insert cool idea here**???
- Allow the team to generate lots of ideas – Good, bad, weird, in the box and out of box ideas are what generate solutions. Use your team as that resource, let them come up with ideas, lots of ideas. CRAZY IDEAS!!! This is what moves an organization/school/business or company to move forward. IDEAS!
- Determine with the team what makes a strong usable idea – Some ideas will be easily eliminated from the list but others will need to be systematically organized and then prioritized. Ask questions like, “Is this in line with our mission?” or “If we did this would it make a positive impact on what we do?” if the answer is yes it moves to the top of the priority list.
- Develop and share idea implementation plans – Task, or rather, empower specific people (typically the person whose idea it was) to think about and create an implementation plan. Keep it simple! This is not a committee…. this is one person proposing the first draft of the implementation.
- Resist the urge to own their ideas and solutions – This is the second example of CAN YOU HANDLE IT??? A great leader inspires, motivates and influences. No where in those words is the description of micromanager. If you have hired the right people… you should trust in their ability to think! You must also know that with every opportunity you give them to own their ideas and solutions the better they will be the next time they are given that opportunity.
Using your team as a resource really comes down to – are you secure enough in yourself as a leader and within your role in the organization/school/company/business to create this opportunity for growth within all members of your staff?
Make no mistake about it… they have opinions! They have ideas! They have solutions! They know the real issues! They want to be part of the success! Your team can be a true gem that just needs the opportunity to shine. Always remember, the success of your team is ultimately the success of you as a leader.