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What It Means to Be a Team

What It Means to Be a Team


In a growing organization, leadership roles are frequently redrafted. Leadership grows with the growth of the organization or both stagnate and die. In a growing organization, leaders have to become novices again and again.

Growth is a process of letting go so others can take hold. Leaders should know how to step back so others can step forward. Stepping back is far more than delegating. It’s developing a spirit of ownership among all members of the team.

Leaders accustomed to being fully involved seem to struggle with partial involvement, feeling their position is all or nothing. But stepping back isn’t disconnecting, nor does it require dumping on others.

The challenge of letting go is giving people the feeling that you still care. When someone asks for direction, shouting back, “you do it,” doesn’t help anybody.

9 ways to disengage in an engaging way:

  1. Affirm the person and the question: “Thanks for….”
  2. Ask them about issues/opportunities/challenges they see: “What are some of our challenges?”
  3. Offer a little insight, but not too much: “Another issue might be...”
  4. Set direction: “We definitely need to address...Does that make sense?”
  5. Ask, “What do you think we should do?”
  6. Ask, “What’s the next step?”
  7. Affirm: “That makes sense. Go for it.”
  8. Ask, “Do you need anything from me?”
  9. Then, "Let me know how it goes."

Growing organizations require leaders to see themselves in new ways. Ultimately, it’s a matter of personal transformation. One sticking point along the way is your need and the expectation of others for you to give answers. Get comfortable with the idea that the person who gives the answer, owns the issue.

Dan Rockwell

Dan Rockwell is a consultant with over 35 years of experience as a public speaker and teacher.

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