A short leadership lesson

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I was privy to a leadership/management situation recently which I think has some good learning points for leaders and managers.

The team member had a task coming up she had never done before, so she sought advice and guidance from her manager.  Because the task was simple (to the manager) he just casually said “oh, don’t worry; it’s easy.  Just fill out the form and it’s all sorted”.

A few days later the team member asked the manager again for some advice and guidance but he just gave the same advice.

In total, this was repeated 4-5 times with the team member asking her manager for a separate meeting to discuss it on at least 2 occasions.  Each time she was just fobbed off.

On investigation, it was discovered that the team member knew exactly HOW to do the task but there were wider issues that she had about WHY she should do it which were stopping her.

Things to consider:

  • Just because something is easy for you to do, don’t assume that it’s easy for others too;
  • If a team member is repeatedly questioning something then the chances are the issue is not the task itself but something bigger/deeper.  Take a few moments to coach the team member to get a better understanding.

We all make the mistake of thinking that others have the same level of skills/experience as ourselves; or we forget how fearful we were when we were just starting out; or we get annoyed because someone doesn’t seem to be able to do a simple task. 

Take a moment to reflect, look below the surface, take a few moments to work with the other person.  Their confidence in you and your leadership will grow and they will pull out all the stops to support you in the future.


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