When working with a number of leaders and senior managers in business, we look at what takes up a lot of their time, distracts their key focus and stops them from stepping back or finishing key goals.
The word “Help” is often in play.
They have jumped in and “helped” their team to meet a deadline, complete a project, gain that new account, and devise the best way forward for X, Y or Z.
On further investigation, however, it often turns out that “help” as it was given was not really what the person or team needed at this point. They may have needed a sounding board, a fresh pair of eyes, in some cases a time extension or maybe additional resources or support from elsewhere in the business.
Although the “HELP” often and to be honest, mainly comes from a well-intentioned place, it is rarely seen as helpful by those being “helped”. It is in fact more often seen as a distraction, a hindrance, additional work and time or duplication of effort and in the worst-case scenario micromanagement and/or a lack of trust.
Try asking yourself these questions before you step into “Help” next time
- What benefit is going to be achieved by me jumping in and taking action on this task or project?
- What is really driving my desire or need to help in this instance?
- Am I really just retreating to my comfort zone here and possibly avoiding something bigger I need to tackle?
- Where should the responsibility for this lie, whose role is it?
- What is the root cause of the problems my team are experiencing?
- How would I feel in their shoes if someone just jumped in and tried to do my job for me?
- What impact is this having on their team and the rest of my team if I am seen to jump in and do their job for them?
- How could I really help and support this person or team more effectively?
- What’s stopping me from asking the right questions and having the conversation to find out what would be most helpful or supportive to this person or team?
- What benefit would setting aside time for quality updates and feedback sessions where I was able to act as a sounding board and support them to come up with their own solutions have?
If you take the time to reflect and really answer these questions honestly, I am sure that you will come up with a better solution for both you and your team, which in turn will lead to your effective help being sought more often as a sounding board.
Occasionally there is a genuine need for all hands to the pump and for you to become actively involved to support your team.
If this is the case think about how you engage in this in terms of do you take over or genuinely support by asking how you could be most effective and by becoming part of the team in the role you take on. Equally important do you ensure that any glory or praise is reflected on the team and not on you on completion.
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