Lessons learned Friday on Saturday! YES, I missed Friday! I was asleep at the wheel yesterday.
A lesson in TRUST: I was once on a project and my colleague and I (both project managers) were struggling in getting our team to take initiative around activities on the project. We had military veterans and seasoned consultants on our team, so we were not short of capable people. My colleague and I were in a leadership collaboration session with our VP's discussing why we were struggling with our team taking initiative, when she described how many times we communicated that we wanted them to take initiative, and operate in accordance to the project objectives, and not having to wait for us to communicate their next steps. We communicated this countless times, only to have our team to never take initiative.
The question: Was our team just incompetent? Were they lazy? Did they lack knowledge of what needed to be done for the project? No is the answer to all these questions. The painful answer was lack of TRUST. They did not TRUST that we wanted them to show initiative.
The back story was that there had been an earlier incident with us and our VP that created an environment of uncertainty. Our VP would pop in on our team when we were not with them, and give them conflicting information than what we gave them. Our team did not TRUST that any word that we said was really sacred, and that our VP would contradict our guidance to the team. TRUST was lost.
Once, my colleague and I, along with our VP, realized that TRUST had been broken, we worked hard to repair it during the rest of the project. With the time left, we were able to regain some TRUST, but not to the degree that would be ideal to call it a success. Needless to say, it is much tougher to repair TRUST than it is to maintain it.
The lesson to be learned here is to make sure you and your chain of command are on the same page in regards to the objectives you are trying to accomplish. You will quickly lose your people's TRUST when you demonstrate contradiction. If you want people to take initiative, they must TRUST you first. They must TRUST that you will not have a zero tolerance approach if they make a mistake. That you will help them learn from a mistake. Without that level of TRUST, you will be forced to micro-manage, and do much of the work yourself, and that is not LEADERSHIP.
Share Your Thoughts!
I encourage and look forward to your thoughts and feedback on my blog posts. Please feel free to take the time to share your comments on the posts that interest you.
The copyright in this website and the material on this website (including without limitation the text, computer code, artwork, photographs, images, music, audio material, video material and audio-visual material on this website) is owned by Christopher Waters and Agoge Leadership Development LLC and its licencors.