After working hard to understand myself better, to understand my team better, and to begin our transformation towards becoming a ‘great team’, my plan of action was starting to making a difference.
After a few months I was starting to see a difference in team morale, in the completion of tasks, in communication and engagement across the team; but, something still didn’t feel right. Something was still not quite clicking. There was still a thought at the back of my mind that the team is still not functioning as it should.
So I started another piece of reflection – but this time both at work and at home. I was watching the team dynamics. I was listening to the conversations – the words, the tones, the dialogue. I was watching body language. I was studying the team for clues – what is the issue that I couldn’t put my finger on?
Then just like last time it hit me.
On the way to get my daily lunchtime coffee, I realised – the issue was me.
Yes I had put my plan into action.
Yes we were coming together as a team.
Yes I was being a better me.
Yes the team cared more about our work.
But, in my quest to making our team great, I had become the manager that I really dislike working for. I had become controlling if the work. I was meddling in all the tasks. I was trying to get them to do the tasks the way I would do them.
I wasn’t letting them be a better them.
Then I remembered one of the first rules of management that my friend and executive coach/leadership guru Carl Taylor had tought me in my very first leadership course 10 years before – when you become a manager or leader you have to stop trying to be the expert of all the tasks and start to manage the people that are.
That was my problem. I wasn’t managing them, I was controlling them. I wasn’t delegating to them, I was trying to do it all. I wasn’t being a manager, I was trying to still be the expert.
That had to change.
Going back through all the things that Carl had tought me, going back through all the things I had learnt from the best managers I had had, and going back to what I know that I should be doing, I pulled together another plan for improvements – with a little help from my Unstuck app buddy on my iPad.
Action 1: Be a better me
Okay, I had become a better me in terms of my work, my engagement, and my style in the office; but, I had lost the manager that I knew I actually was.
Management by controlling is not my style. I prefer the coaching and mentoring style. Actively working with my team to help them solve problems, to help them identify how to move forward, to help them better understand their work.
I wanted to help them become a better them.
Action 2: Help each person on my team become a better them
So I started to coach the individuals on my team rather than telling them what to do and how to do it.
I starting asking them for their ideas. I started to ask them questions to think through their approach. I started to empower them.
I started to help them own their work, take more pride in it, and work out how they can overcome the barriers that they achieved by themselves.
Action 3: Better understand my superpower
By letting go of the work a little I started to have more time for me, more time to start understanding and start using my superpower more.
What was it that I added to the team? How could I do better? What difference was it that I made? What unique skill did I bring to the team? In essence, going back to Keith’s video, what was my superpower?
Then I knew it. It was simple. It was right their in front of me. It was the thing that had made me stand out in every team I had been in. It was the thing I was trying to hide in my current team as the culture didn’t allow it.
Once I knew what it was, I ready to bring it back out. I was ready to use it. I was ready to grasp onto it and not let it go.
I had my superpower.
What was it? I’ll tell you in my next post………..