Do you feel as if you are the one pulling your team along, doing all the heavy lifting? Are you typically telling everyone what to do, wondering why they can’t think for themselves? I know this can be hard and also very frustrating. Let’s consider this. The dance of a team is created by everyone involved, especially the leader.
I know it is difficult to get people to do the work. You are time pressured and it is just easier to tell them what to do. Yet sometimes they just don’t get it right. At least it doesn’t look ‘right’ to you. This creates more back and forth until it is right in your eyes. It can feel exhausting and a waste of your limited time.
Imagine what it would be like if you could delegate and get the results you want and need? No longer feel time pressured. Here’s how.
Stop telling, start asking:
I am a reformed teller. The easiest and most effective way to get things done was to tell someone what to do and how to do it or do it myself. Exhausting, right?
Through coaching others I learned the error of my ways. When we tell people what to do, they tune out and no longer need to think for themselves. They do the bare minimum and usually with little joy. They don’t contribute ideas, seem engaged. Or look checked out.
When we shift the dance from telling others what to do, we can create an inquiring dialogue. We ask questions. We create space for others to share their thoughts, their perspectives. You may even find a better way to get things done.
3 Steps To Shift From Telling to Asking
1. Listen to ABSORB:
Of course, a dialogue only works if both parties are present in the moment, focused and actively listening. Stop what you’re doing. No texting, checking social media. Instead, focus on the speaker and what they are saying. Pay attention to their body language and tone of voice.
2. Stop Judging:
You are time pressured and just want the work completed. It is hard to listen to how others want to do that because it is not how you would do it. You know your way will work so why can’t they ‘just do it’. When we are told what to do, we get the message we are not good enough, we can’t think for ourselves, do things our way.
When the leader is open to the ideas of others, non-judging as they share their thoughts, it messages to the speaker she has ideas that matter. She has value. She becomes engaged.
3. Ask open questions:
Open questions begin with who, what, where, when, why and how. They can’t be answered with ‘yes’ or ‘no’. These questions help us stop and think about what we want to say. Putting ‘how’ or ‘what’ in front of any thought will create an open question that can generate new ideas and help dig deeper to explore any perspective. They create inspiration, collaboration and innovation.
These are some way a leader can begin to change the office dance to one of engagement and collaboration helps show where they are to where they want to be.
Co-Founder of The Institute Of Curiosity
Kathy Taberner is a retired occupational therapist, Professional Certified Coach (PCC) with a MA in leadership and training. With her daughter, she is a co-founder of the Institute of Curiosity and co-author of the ‘Power of Curiosity’. She is committed to supporting women to strive to become the dynamic and successful leaders they want to be. Her research project for her Masters explored the leadership styles and emotional intelligence of senior female leaders in BC.
She and her husband of many years, share their time between the Okanagan and Vancouver.