I know, I know… it’s what everyone expects from a manager these days. Albeit, hard to come by, particularly if one’s so used to micro-managing each and every aspect of production or a project. They say, “old habits, die hard.” Let me tell you, this one’s the hardest to let go off. (I say that from experience; thankfully, not mine)
Managers, in my opinion, should take it slowly and start with simply adopting a coaching mindset. Not the sports coach that you see on TV. The coach who doesn’t have all the answers and is quite okay with it. Accepting the fact that it’s okay to fail and make mistakes is a great start!
I believe the best way a struggling team gets to learn is by letting them mess things up. Yup, you heard that right. Let them blow things up. The repercussions are more often powerfully transforming than you stupid lecture where you cuss, complain and give them death threats (not really, but you get the idea, right?).
Of course, I’m not saying you have to make a mess costing thousands (sometimes millions) of dollars to straighten things up. What I’m suggesting is to trust them to do their work and rely on each others collective intelligence to figure things out. Let them know that you’re available whenever they need you. And should they ever get knee deep in trouble, they’ll come to you for help (not a solution, just a tip perhaps). That’s a great opportunity for you to ask questions that clarify their thinking and help them find the right direction.
My experience suggests that most teams prefer this style of leadership the traditional “management by walking around” approach. The latter questions their intelligence and shuts them up, leaving absolutely no room for creativity or thought. Would that be your preferred environment to work? I’m pretty sure what the answer this.
The crux is this — we want to nurture and develop living, breathing, thinking and highly creative intelligent beings. And they need some space to do their best. Give it to them. You’ve earned that break. And so do they.