When you lead a team, it’s easier and faster to tell someone what to do and what needs to get completed.  But think about the process.  When you tell them what needs to happen, then you’re missing out on the opportunity to let the employee decide how best they would get things done.  Also, when you don’t engage in a conversation about the outcome of the problem, full ownership may not be reached.

As leaders, we need work with team members in a way that builds excitement and energy when delegating tasks.  Resistance comes when we tell people what we want done and lack of ownership follows this type of interaction.  Leaders need to mentor employees to problem solve.

Working Towards Collaboration

The goal is to engage in collaborative problem solving.  This is where you take time with employees and brainstorm possible solutions to allow them to start solving challenges.

When we have meaningful dialog, we begin to change their behavior to get better results overall.  Together, you can begin the process of what discussing the initial areas the problem and help create a map of the larger topics.

Lead with Key Questions

You can you lead an employee and empower them to move forward.  In your conversations, ask key questions to get started with the team member.  What is the end goal?  What is a good outcome?  Why do we care about it?  What metrics will we measure the success and failure?  How do we know we’re done?  What obstacles are anticipated to come up?  What resources are needed?  What needs to be in place at what time?  Who are you going to work with?  What coordination needs to happen?

You are giving a person the opportunity to figure it out on their own with guiding questions.  When they figure out the pieces of the puzzle that need solving, like the timeline, resources, employees, then their enthusiasm grows.

Value Equals Ownership

Leaders can act as mentors instead of a boss when we spell out the steps on solving problems.  Yet, when and we allow employees to figure out how best to complete work,   they begin to value their work.  When they value it, then energy and excitement build around solving a problem.  They are put in the position of the decision maker and can take full ownership, especially when it’s their choice and on their own terms.  It’s easy to delegate a task, but as a leader, it’s up to us to help team members figure out what needs to be done.  We can position people so that they can own the solution and build trust between team members and management.

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