For the leader who feels perpetually responsible, let’s get you UNSTUCK…How to QUESTION your way to CREATIVE SOLUTIONS and remove roadblocks to success.
One of my clients, a senior operations leader, told me recently that he had an issue….
He wanted to go on vacation with his family, but couldn’t take an extended one since there was no one to fill his shoes.
We had been talking about life balance, exploring his “wheel of life” (a coaching exercise to help you identify what’s missing or neglected in your life).
The process alerted him to the reality that he had been procrastinating taking a real vacation with his family, so we dug a little deeper to find out why.
That’s when we came to it: if he left for even a week, he felt that the efficiency of his organization would suffer too much. He is highly responsible and wouldn’t let that happen.
There was a gap, and he believed he was the only one who could fill it.
He said there were some things he was responsible for that only he could do…
This is why paying attention to the “I can’ts” and items we as leaders procrastinate on is SO important.
They are clues to where WE may be the bottleneck.
So, my questions turned to a series of curious exploration with this leader:
– “What is the real issue here?”
– “What is the risk in leaving this situation as is – for you personally? Professionally?”
– “How will that affect your team and the facility long-term?”
– “What would it look like to close this responsibility gap?”
– “How do you envision addressing this in a proactive way?”
– “What perspective shift is necessary for you to move forward?”
– “What resources would you need?”
– “What could hold you back from taking the actions you’ve described?”
– “What additional support do you need to make this happen?”
As we talked more, my client was able to fully identify the issue and impact, come up with ideas to address the gap, and created a very workable plan.
As it turned out, it was an opportunity to empower and re-motivate an employee that had recently slipped in his level of engagement and who would be excited to take on this new responsibility.
Sometimes, as a leader, we feel a weighty sense of responsibility so consistently that we don’t step outside of the circumstances to view them with a lens of objectivity…we just stay busy in the ‘doing’…
That’s why it is so important to readily question “why” when we hear ourselves thinking or saying things like “I can’t do it any other way.”
There is always another way, and more often than not, questioning the I CAN’T feelings and beliefs can lead us to new opportunities and solutions we’d never have considered before.
And at the end of the day, I believe this consistent questioning leads to creative problem-solving that will make us healthier, more effective leaders in every area of our life.