Do you feel as if your team don’t show initiative? Do you walk in late to meetings only to find that the team didn’t want to get started without you? When you ask for opinions is there deafening silence?
If you answered yes to some of these questions, it’s time to think about your behaviours as a leader and what these behaviours reinforce in others. If you always give people answers and not questions, they won’t show initiative. If you often reverse decisions that are made without you present, your team will stop making decisions on their own. If you don’t stop to listen and encourage others to share their opinion (without interruption) they just won’t bother sharing.
It’s a common problem between leaders and teams, particularly when the leader has a more dominating style, and the team members tend to be quieter and more submissive.
Some small things to think about doing if you feel you are in this situation as a leader:
1. When you are about to make a statement, offer advise or tell someone what to do, ask a question instead.
2. Don’t overturn a decision that doesn’t really need to be overturned (think hard before overturning it – surprisingly there are often more ways to achieve an outcome than the one you have thought of).
3. Choose something that you genuinely want to get opinions on. Go ask 3 people in your team (1-1) for their opinion. Just ask, don’t tell them what you think.