You’ll Think of Something
YOU’LL THINK OF SOMETHING. Good leaders avoid becoming parental, solving and fixing everyone’s problems. Challenges stretch and develop people. When leaders swoop in and tackle a challenge or problem for a team member, they rob that person of the chance to grow and improve. Making mistakes and learning from them is the path everyone walks as they develop into more skillful contributors. What team members most need from leaders is the opportunity to resolve sticky issues, while having the confidence and faith of the leader that they will succeed.
Here’s a common exchange when observing exceptional leaders:
Leader: “I like your idea and will work to implement it. Your job is to convince your peers in operations to go along with it.”
Team member: “That’s great, but our operation partners don’t have a habit of supporting us. How should I go about gaining their subscription?”
Leader: “You’ll think of something.”
In other words, “The problem is yours, and I have complete confidence you have the skills and abilities to solve it without my help or interference.”
When leaders express confidence in others’ ability to solve their own problems and challenges, people soar. “You’ll figure it out.” “Let me know how you solve that problem.” “You have the background and skills to generate an elegant solution.” “I have the highest confidence in your ability to overcome the issue.”
Leaders who steadfastly refuse to solve the difficult problems others face, while expressing confidence in their ability to do so, allows them to take great strides forward. Mistakes and missteps will sometimes occur, but that is the cost of growth. The best leaders accept that consequence. We often hear that leadership is about instilling confidence in others. This is one way it gets done.