Leadership is about road block removal. Your team may be the best in the world at what they do but certain issues can stop them cold every time. They may be like a garage full of incredibly fast sports cars eager to get the job done, but someone has to open the garage door to get them started and remove the roadblocks along the way that prevent them from demonstrating their full potential. In the picture I show a 505 horsepower Viper stuck behind the cross bar of a train crossing. The way it sits in this picture it could as well be a 185 horsepower Pontiac Aztec as their would be no difference in performance until someone removes the barrier or plans a way around it. So what do leaders need to do? Leaders must take the time to do theses three things to ensure that their fast cars go fast.
First, identify as many of the barriers in advance. Get with the team and think about what could go wrong on the way to the goal. What are you are currently doing to prevent or mitigate it and what might you want to do differently in a proactively attempt to lower the potential of occurrence or significance of the impact?
Second, get to know your people so that you know what will be a barrier for them. Everyone is not the same. Some of your team is more like a rental car. You know, "no curb to high no ditch to deep" they can go anywhere. Others may be like the Viper, where anything higher than a speed bump can knock them out of the race. Both cars have their place and are great for the team but you just need to know their needs and meet them for maximum performance.
Lastly, keep up continuous communication so that you see or hear about barriers before they cause large losses in momentum. Many leaders leave the team to work on a project and are surprised to find them mired in the mud of a problem. The team may not be able to make a decision about an approach due to lack of information, perceived support or buy in. This is where constant contact is important. Not micromanagement per say, just simply understanding the obstacles they are facing and providing help where they request it and based off of their needs. The way the best leaders demonstrate this is by attending team meeting but only for the first few minutes so as to not depower the team and practicing situational leadership.
Can you think of other points that leaders should consider to ensure high performance teams maintain the ability to deliver?
Share them below in the comments section please.