When Your Team is Off Course - Superabound Leadership Lesson

3 Minutes Read

In this series I am going to address some common leadership challenges and how Superabound Leaders can deal with them. While this is not meant to be formulaic, my hope for you is that these ideas get your wheels turning and help you lead with coaching (and not micromanaging). And if you want to see how one-to-one coaching can help you grow your business, sign up for a free Visionary Meeting here.

A while back, I was speaking to someone on my team and they told me about a "really neat AI tool" they had come across earlier that day. They went into excited detail about it, but for some reason it raised a red flag for me. Instead of dismissing my unease I asked, "When did you learn all about this?" 

They replied "Just today."

I responded, "During work hours?"

Them: "Yes, but I didn't have much to do and I wasn't going to count the time or anything."

Me: "Can you tell me how this relates to the current lantern you are responsible for lighting right now?"

Them: "Hmm, I am not sure it does. I just didn't have a lot on my calendar today."

In that moment, like any other human leader probably might, I wanted to snap at this person. I had just finished a packed day of coaching and teaching while they spent the day chilling on the internet instead of putting their brain and energy towards the lantern Steve and I had hired them to light.

I was frustrated and yet I put on my Superabound Leadership hat and leaned on my tools.

1. Look for where you didn't lead clearly.
This first one is tough, because as a leader in our circle, you have to be willing to see where you may not have communicated something important. 

It doesn't matter if you have contractors or employees, if folks on your team aren't:

a) crystal clear on the lantern or series of lanterns (aka. milestones/goals/targets) they are responsible for lighting, and 
b) able to work autonomously in a focused way towards those lanterns using your company's vision and values,

You will have a problem.

In this case, my team member knew what they were supposed to be doing at a high level, but was not breaking that bigger lantern into actionable steps or smaller milestones in a way that resulted in work scheduled on their calendar.

I believed they should have known how to do this based on their past experience but didn't actually check my assumption on whether it was true. On this matter I took responsibility for the fact that I was so booked that I hadn't made the time to check in with them to see where things were with our project. But I also let them know that I expected them to create a plan for how they would move towards the lantern we had hired them for and work on it in a self-directed way.

2. Teach self-management instead of micromanaging
After this incident, I made it a point to check in more often and make sure they could articulate the lantern they were supposed to be working on. I asked for regular progress updates to be sent to me about exactly how they used "Superabound" time and how that was connected to our lantern and in line with our values.

The way we avoided micromanaging was to have a weekly meeting and several 10 minute check in calls each week. This allowed me to coach them on any internal Static or external challenges they were facing and redirect them as needed. I also encouraged this person to ask and communicate instead of assume (and likely waste hours of time doing something that wasn't aligned or helpful for us).

This is the benefit to creating a culture of coaching in your company because rather than have people hide from you and go down an internet rabbit hole when they don't know how to use their time, you can ecougage them to reach out when they are feeling lost or avoiding working on their lantern.

One of the ways we have baked this into our lives at Superabound is in our company Slack channel.
When you log in in the morning you are asked by our bot what your lantern is right now and what Static and Challenges might be in the way keeping you from lighting it.

Getting this out in the open at the start of every day tells us all how we are doing, what we are feeling and what we might need support on. No drama. No hiding.

3. Know when it just isn't working anymore

Here comes the hard part. If you have made sure you are communicating, leading, and teaching well, there may come a time when you decide that someone on your team isn't performing in a way that meets your standard or is performing in a way that goes against your vision and values.

If you are a lean time who values their down time but you, as the business owner or leader spend every evening finishing or fixing the work that was someone else's job, it may be time to make a big change.

This part is hard, and both Steve and I have had to part ways with some folks over the years so just know, we get it. But at the end of the day, if your business is suffering and you are paying someone for a job they aren't doing and aren't growing into at the pace you both agreed on, then chances are you are hurting yourself and your business further by continuing to try and make a fit when there isn't one.

I hope this has helped you see some patterns you may want to work on in your own leadership; or if you are doing these things well already, given you reason to pat yourself on the back.

We have so much more waiting for you with personalized one-to-one coaching. Experience your free visionary meeting here.