Lead through your teams to win
Do not ask what the team can do for you, ask what you can do for the team!
It is quite a lot in this sentence reflecting a key leadership challenge and leadership shift when it comes to transformations. Agile transformations or digital transformations, it does not matter. The reality has and is changing rapidly, and along with that comes complexity. As a leader this is a real challenge.
Not long ago it was quite common to adapt plan driven business development, based on activities not on value. And as a leader or manager, you were expected to know your area, maybe not in detail, but quite close to it.
Trust your people
As complexity grows exponentially, this becomes impossible. You need to embrace other values: leadership, coaching, people management etc. And most of all, you need to trust your people, and their willingness and competence to do an outstanding work.
A few thoughts on what will be required in today’s fast changing world.
- Trust your people to know his/her area – That is why they were employed in the first place
- Trust your people for their willingness to engage – If you are clear on visions and goals, and show openness and inspiration, your people will engage
- Trust your people for their willingness of doing a good job – You win when the teams win!
- Embrace collaboration and communication- You can start by having coffee with the teams, and openly discuss challenges, or ask questions about collaborations with related teams – And make sure that your co-leaders engage in their teams and the team challenges.
- Dare to delegate decisions – You have your experts, and you speed up the decision process. And you get instant feedback and thus can adjust quickly.
- Utilize modern technology to remove impediments and embrace speed and collaboration – Technology should never be an obstacle
- Be there! This is important! Show interest, listen, have your ears close to the rail. You need to be engaged in order to help your teams perform. Lead by example!
- Embrace visualization on all levels! Use boards and technology to visualize what is happening! Creates engagement and motivation! And you can get rid of reporting that becomes outdated the minute you press the send button.
- Do not think you have all the answers! It is a strength to be humble and ask for help if you need it.
- Do not strictly rely on processes, command and control. Rely on people! But use frameworks as frameworks – A guiding help! And use your people to adapt. Frameworks are much more easy to adapt to a fast changing reality than a rigid and detailed process.
So, the key guiding principle:
Ask what you can do for the team, and not what the team can do for you!
By Joakim Berg