45 - How to help your team decide in your absence



Being a new manager shouldn’t stop you from being a good leader.

This is a situation new managers may identify with. You have a young team that you trust but you’re worried about their decision-making. You find yourself having to intervene every now and then and nudge them in the right direction. While with time your team seems to follow you better, you’re still not sure if they’re on the same page.

The worst thing you could do in such a situation is expect your team to read your mind. Even if your team gets it right once, there’s no guarantee they’ll do so consistently. Perhaps a shade better on your part is to wait for your team to ask you about what you care about.

And if you’re a reportee, here’s a tip from Julie Zhou on how to better understand what your boss wants. Ask your boss “What does success look like for you?” / “How do you hope things go?” Or ask your peers “What do you think X cares about?”

As a leader, clarifying what’s most important to you can empower your team. Once you share what success looks like to you, you may be surprised by how swiftly your team aligns itself to your priorities. At once they feel clear about what they will be judged on and that helps them deliver much better results.

In situations where external uncertainty makes a rethink necessary, you could clarify the “as long as….” We will continue running quick low-cost experiments **as long as **we’re learning something new and useful about the customer.

It is not uncommon for young conscientious managers to want to leave nothing to chance. They may feel the urge to always be present. End up spending their weekends on email and chat. This may appear to the team as micromanagement, and no one would be happier for the experience.

These are all symptoms of the same root problem. Shane Parrish strikes at the heart of it: If you don’t articulate the most important thing, people are left guessing about what matters. And because they’re guessing, they need you.

If you want your team to perform to your standards, be clear about what you want from them. Once you do that, you can gradually make your position redundant. That’s the mark of a good leader.

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