So a few episodes ago we got your mind right when it comes to creating leaders in your business. (Go back and check out episode 126 if you missed it.) But there is one question that remains, how do I create leaders? The answer is: coach to create a leader.
Right now we are busy, super busy! We are working more while working remotely than we did while working at the office. (I continue to reflect back in my mind to that recent Harvard Business Review article that says Americans are now working 3 hours more a day while remote than they did in the office.) So no doubt we are stressing and feeling like we have no time.
Then, along comes Katrina and this crazy podcast and she’s telling me to spend 30 minutes on a conversation “teaching” a person on my team how to solve this problem when it would take me 5 minutes to fix it myself. I get it. I get your perspective. But let’s talk about mindset for just a second.
You are running a marathon in your business, not a sprint. You are fighting a war, not just one battle. Each time you take “5 minutes to fix it yourself” over the long run, you are going to spend 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there and that’s going to add to hours of work you didn’t need to do. It’s also going to prevent you from taking vacations as we talked about in the past because no one can solve those problems but you. So how do you overcome all of this?
You coach to create a leader. When a problem arises, no doubt your team member will come to you and share the problem with you. Instead of simply saying “let me fix it,” ask them how they want to fix it. So step one, ask them for their solution.
If they don’t have one, send them off to think about a solution and come back to you. (Remember, this is for non-fire situations.) Depending on the issue, you may allow them the rest of the day to formulate a plan, you may give them a few days, or you may only give them a few hours. But send them off to think about it. Do not brainstorm with them, make them come back to you with something. Also, establish not only when they need to return to you with details but how they are to connect with you (email, phone, text, etc.).
When they come back with their idea, or if they had an idea, to begin with, your role now is to listen and to ask questions. You’re not suggesting. You’re not “fixing,” you are listening and asking. They should be able to tell you what their solution is, why this is the best path, and how it works. If they don’t answer those pieces, only then ask questions to get all of the details.
Once you have a full understanding of their proposal, you have to decide if you let them proceed or if the idea simply won’t work (the solution is too risky, it doesn’t actually solve the problem, etc.). As long as the solution they come to you with gets to the right endpoint, within the right timeframe, and it doesn’t present an unacceptable risk, support them in executing their solution. Tell them to go try it.
Establish when they will give you an update or follow up with you on the progress of the plan. If it is something that can be solved in a few days or hours, tell them: when to follow up with you with the results, the details you want them to share with you, as well as the method of communication. If it is a longer-term project, you can ask them to give you updates in their touch base.
Not until the project is complete or they are running into problems do you provide them with feedback on “how it could have been better.” You want them to take action without waiting for approval in the future, this won’t happen if you tweak every plan in the beginning.
Try this strategy the next time someone brings a problem to you. This is the first step in creating leaders around you.