Sunday, August 19, 2012

Getting the Right Answer By Asking the Right Question

["On no soul does God place a burden greater than he can bear"
So, in human terms, this is a lesson for us when we find ourselves in any position of leadership, that we expect the best from those we delegate tasks to, with two conditions: We do not expect more than we know they are capable of delivering, and we give them the material resources and the training needed to get the job done.]
On Saturday, I followed up on an action I had assigned my three area leaders. I was not happy. Following our quick discussion, I received an email from my manager on how critical thehealth of our manufacturing organization was and how important this action was.He knew we’re struggling and wanted to re-emphasize the point that we need tofix it.

At first, I wasfrustrated in what they delivered. I asked myself multiple questions judging and analyzing their quality of work and skillset that they used. And then ithit me- I didn’t provide the resources to them in order for them to think andact the way I want them to. This was a hit on my leadership. I had a follow updiscussion which was more of a reflection on myself. I guess I don’t likejournaling or talking to myself but always have the urge for someone to listento me. I reflected on my actions and my behavior. What could I have done differently? Why is this assignment so critical for our organization? On whatspectrum are you carrying out this assignment? It came down to Strategic,Tactical, and Operational-No surprise. I was acting as the Borg Queen, to saythe least- the Mother Hen. I assigned them the assignment as a Tactical one,gave them Tactical skills to reference and expected them to give me a Strategicanswer. I was wrong.

The follow updiscussion included sharing knowledge of where we need to be in three monthsand how we need to act in the next few weeks leading into that. I was steppingup and admitted what I could have done differently and shared my vision for my value stream. It all starts with asking the right questions and not trying toanswer or resolve every issue that pops up. It also came down to not wanting tohold on to things- even the goals. In order for my team to be successful, theyneeded to see where we were going and I have not been doing such a great job ofthat.  The event was a critical one thathelped me open eyes into a new realm that I’ve been needing. I have been caughtup in my own world; a world that has affected by performance and ability tolead. Personal, family events led me into a downward spiral of negativefeelings, leaving me to with a guard up at all times. I was stuck holding on towhat I knew and it turns out that I knew nothing.

I learned that not onlydo I need to share what I know but I need to open the floor up to those aroundme. Ultimately, they have the answer and know what the right and best thing todo is. I was just holding them back. So next time I decide to delegate anassignment, I need to equip the team with the overall strategic vision. Afterall, the only way to get to a strategic solution, is if you start at the top ofthe mountain.  

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