When Leaders Have Too Many Answers

Don't TalkI recently had the opportunity to watch a leader in an impromptu meeting with his team. As he was speaking with his team about the event that was about to occur, a visiting executive walked in and said she had a problem and needed some help to make several changes to her part in the event. What happened next is, unfortunately, a problem for many leaders.

Let Me Solve That For You

Because I am somewhat familiar with the team, I knew that at least two of the team members were expert in the area where the visiting executive needed help. Unfortunately, the leader of the team never let his people speak. He immediately began to tell the visiting executive what her options were and how he would fix the problems. What a missed opportunity to do the following:

A. Show off his team – they have been working hard and they know how to solve this
B. Show the team that he believes in them – you are the expert in this, not me
C. Test the team – what’s your point of view? How would you solve this?
D. Teach the team – I expect you to have a point of view
E. Empower the team – you must be able to solve things like this when I am not present

Many leaders miss this amazing teaching moment because they put their own insecurities in front of the team’s opportunity for growth. I am sure the leader meant well, but he was more intent on showing the visiting executive that HE had everything under control and that HE could solve the problem.

Even if the leader eventually was the person to solve the issue, he could have still leveraged the teaching moment by first asking his team what they thought could be done. By starting with the thought that “all of us is smarter than one of us”, he could have made his team look big instead of making himself look big.

Question: Do you have too many answers when others are in a position to contribute?

Photo Credit – from www.freedigitalphotos.net, Photo by stockimages

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One thought on “When Leaders Have Too Many Answers

  1. Perry Holley, how did you get to be so insightful? All these years and you are still taking me to school! Greetings from Kiev.

    PS. The pool league called and they need some crappy players for Wednesday!