Who’s “Driving” Your Team?

October 18, 2021

What Are You Doing to “Drive” Your Team to Better Results?

As a leader, one of your tasks is to help your team achieve better results.   Improved outcomes.  More efficiency. 

How can you change your “behavior” and gain these outcomes?  A few simple approaches to how you “drive” your team will get you there. 

Let’s start with a very realistic premise.  You have assigned to them a new task or project and you will need to have updates from them as they navigate this new assignment.  The “old” way is pretty straightforward.  A few simple direct questions or even directives to “bring it home”.  “Are you going to get this completed on time?”  “When will you have it finished”?  “Let’s do it this way instead”?   “This is what we need to do”?  The list could go on and on, but we know for sure this approach doesn’t work and clearly is outdated in today’s environment.

When we take this approach, we have shortchanged everyone – the team, yourself, and the organization.  If you always fix the problem they will never learn to “drive”.

Let’s think about a different way to lead.  When you delegate the task or project give them the authority and appropriate level of autonomy to get it completed “their way”.  Do what you can to foster the culture that you trust them, AND that  you have not abandoned them.

So, when you are getting updates or they come to you with questions, think how you might rephrase things to get better results.  Also, consider the environment.   If you are sitting behind your desk in your office this can be inhibiting or “authoritative” in nature.   Maybe it’s a different room, or perhaps it’s a table in the corner of the office, etc.  Just consider that not only what you say and how you say it matters, but sometimes where you say it makes a difference.

If they come to you with a less than ideal solution, the approach might be:  “Are there any other options we might have to tackle this”.  “What suggestions do you have to overcome this hurdle”? This forces them to rethink what they have done, but it also tells them you (“we”) are there for them.

To check completion status, maybe the approach could be:  “What other resources to you need to get this wrapped up on time”?  or “How can we pull together to help achieve our targeted goal?”

Maybe it’s a way to better tap into their skills and knowledge as Subject Matter Experts.  An option would be:  “Based upon your expertise and experience, do you see a better solution, a more desirable outcome, a more efficient process,” etc.  “Is there anything from your past work/experience that we can utilize now”? 

You might use an open-ended question such as, “Let’s talk about….Tell me….”.  This opens the door for a good dialogue of the situation and isn’t judgmental about where the project stands. 

So now that you have taken your “hands off the wheel” what’s your role?  How about being the “passenger/navigator”?  Take the ride with them and help them navigate the trip.  Once in a while you might be tempted to pull out the “old map” and use it but resist this temptation.  This new approach gives them the opportunity to grow.  The team’s growth is a fundamental responsibility of you as their leader.  It gives them the opportunity to utilize their skills, expertise, experience, and creativity.  This is  a “win-win”. They will be more satisfied with their work life, and they will produce a significantly better result. Everyone involved (the team, you, and the organization) will benefit.

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