We often think that giving the benefit of the doubt is a good habit: It means we assume the best of intentions when others do or say something that we don’t like, or when their actions go against what we’ve agreed to. Team members will often show their loyalty by agreeing in principle to never doubt each others’ best intentions. This is a good habit for those who are quick to criticize, quick to judge intentions as evil,
I’m coaching a leader who is the resident expert in her field. Like many leaders, she loves the industry and is a natural problem-solver. In fact, she is well-sought-out for her thinking and her expertise and is also a respected speaker.
She needs more time for strategic work, and she wants to delegate more to her team. Some of them are intimidated by her and they have a hard time stepping up. In Coaching, we talk about how she can grow her team members’ skills and teach them to trust their own thinking.
I’m coaching more people in their home these days – because that’s where they work. Most say it’s great for flexibility, and that they save time and money without the commute or “dressing for work”. Several leaders have global teams they need to coordinate and be in touch with. Topics differ, but there is often a sense of disconnection that can range from isolating personal loneliness to leadership angst around managing what can’t be seen.
Here’s what I suggest organizations and individuals consider to get the best out of their work-anywhere model:
Have good metrics in place.
I’m working on a Facilitation Skills course for leaders and thinking hard about how to distill 30 years of experience into a day. My definition of an effective facilitator is “Someone who makes the work of the group easier, through planned and spontaneous interventions.” I think it captures the aspect of being of service to the group, and the facilitator’s responsibility to bring something important to the table.
A good metaphor comes to mind: The way of the Conscious Sailor.
I’m working with clients who are interested in building certain cultures in their organization. “We need more accountability” or “we need more innovation”. Almost immediately, this becomes performance talk: i.e. if we hire people with these attitudes (and get rid of those who don’t have them) we will naturally build them in the workplace. Not so fast! It’s tempting to simplify the complexity of human dynamics this way. But anyone who’s joined an existing team finds out pretty quickly what works – and what doesn’t.