Are you a leader or a fixer?
Have you ever listened to a friend, colleague or family member and just known how to fix their problem; what they should do differently or how they should change their life for the better?
Have you ever found yourself saying those fantastic words…”If I were you…” Or “Have you tried…?” Or “Just do this…”
It’s a lovely feeling when you instinctively know how you can help someone, because you have been there done that and bought the T-Shirt, or just because you can see it differently from your vantage point of not being directly involved. Unfortunately though, an instant solution isn’t always the best answer. Sometimes, all that is needed is someone to listen, empathise and nothing more whilst they make their own decisions.
If you’ve been on the receiving end of helpful advice you’ll know that although you may at times be very grateful and recognise that it could potentially save you some time and effort making mistakes, there are other times when you don’t need someone to try and fix you. That you actually need to go through the process yourself in whatever form that takes. To take the learning; to feel the frustration and the pain and to come out the other side with that sense of achievement that only going through the journey will provide.
As a leader this is no different. Sometimes, it’s so easy to get caught up with the day to day chaos of what needs to be done that when we spot someone who could do with a nudge in the right direction we very quickly act, instead of taking a moment to think through the situation, ask questions and listen. By using simple coaching techniques we can easily empower others to think of their own solutions; and learn more about their role in the business and the part they play in it.
Being the leader doesn’t mean you have to have all the answers. In fact there are many times when it’s completely unnecessary for you to share them even if you do know what to do. By allowing your teams to learn the right way with your support and guidance rather than you simply telling them what to do, you will be encouraging them to grow. In time they will feel empowered, developed and will have a real sense of being confident in their role to make decisions without having to turn to you for help. This in turn will not only enable them to grow in their roles but will also allow you to work at the level that’s right for you, freeing up your time to be more proactive knowing that your team are all self sufficient.
So next time, you are very tempted to jump straight in and ‘fix someone’ take a deep breath, and just listen. Not only will you learn and be able to support them by asking some good open questions, you will also show them that you value what they have to say and have confidence that they will make the right decision – and that ultimately you’re right there should they need you.