Each month several leaders within our organization get together to learn about and discuss a different leadership-related topic. This month our conversation veered to how quickly we respond to the needs of our team, and one leader volunteered to share a self-admitted failure when she took too long to take action on behalf of one of her star performers who was having some technology issues.
Though she had arranged for her colleague’s computer to get fixed, the wait was taking too long, and she never realized her teammate was having such a difficult time until this top producer was nearly in tears about her inability to do her job. Only then did she realize how employee was having to create workarounds because of her computer issue and how she didn’t notice the seriousness of her employee’s challenges because she was focused on her own production.
Have you ever had an intentional or unintentional delayed reaction to your team’s needs? I imagine we all have at one time or another.
When we delay acting on the needs of our team, we:
- Slow down momentum and stall production
- Frustrate our teammates (especially producers)
- Prioritize ourselves and our work above that of our team
So, when do you need to take the time to consider your options or think on the issue, and when do you need to take immediate action? Here are three questions to ask yourself:
- Is it impacting my teammates’ ability to do their work? If so, you need to put your own production on hold and focusing on resolving the challenge immediately.
- How would you prioritize the issue if you were the one facing it? In other words, you might be okay with it taking five days for the air conditioner in your branch office to get repaired in the middle of July. But would you be waiting so patiently if you were the one working in a hot stuffy office? Your urgency to help your teammate resolve a challenge should be the same urgency you would have if it were YOUR challenge.
- Who’s asking? We can sense the true urgency of the need based on who’s asking. Is it one of your top performers or a colleague who is always complaining? If you know your teammates well enough, you should be able to discern those who need you to intervene and those who are simply complaining.