3 ways to help your team get their work done

At the start of my career I had the pleasure of listening to a key note speaker, and although I’ve long since forgotten his name, his message has always stayed with me.

He told the story of the time he worked in a manufacturing plant operating the same machine for years. Then one year he decided to go on a sabbatical and when he returned he discovered his machine had been replaced with a newer shinier model.

He was outraged and complained to his manager

“Things change” he was told “you’ve got to learn to move on.”

“That’s fine.” He said “but if you’d have asked me I’d have told you how to make it better. This new machine has exactly the same flaw as the old one. I know because I’ve been fixing it for years.”

This story isn’t unique. In fact, I’m sure you’ve got similar stories of your own when you just needed someone to listen to you and accept that you know best. But as leaders although it’s your job to give direction, make decisions  and communicate effectively, sometimes the best results can come from just doing everything in your power to enable your team to get the job done. So how do we do this?

  1. Trust that your teams are the experts

Learning to trust your team can take time, but this is one of the most powerful things you can do as a leader. Your team are there for a reason, and they are doing the job day in day out. Learn to trust that they know what to do, and what’s best to get the job done.

Give this a go:  Regularly ask your team for their opinions and for new ideas, and empower them to make their own decisions where possible. This will prevent you from being the bottle neck and will also encourage a greater sense of ownership in the team.

2. Fix any issues they may have that is preventing them doing their job properly

Everyone has issues from time to time, blocks and barriers that stop you from doing your job properly. These could come in many forms:  lack of resources and equipment, red tape, or simply lack of time. Now, although not all of them might be a quick fix, just acknowledging the problem and encouraging a work around is a good place to start.

Give this a go: it’s easy to dismiss complaints and moaning as negativity especially if you’ve heard it more than once and you’re not able to do anything about it, but sometimes just getting it out there is enough. If a problem can be resolved, make sure you tell the team what’s going to be done and why. If not, the same applies but encourage the team to get their heads together to see what ideas they can come up with that is a good plan B using the resources you do have.

3. Get out of their way.

If your team have everything they need, communicate regularly and leave them to it.

Give this a go: Take another look at your communication strategy. Is it enough? Or is it too much? And ask your team what they really need to be kept up to date and in the loop.

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas on what you’ve done to help your team get the job done and be the experts. Let me know by leaving a comment.

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