It is inevitable and tempting that many decisions that affect the team are made without ever consulting the ones that are primarily targeted. Even if enacted with good intent. We still see this on a different scale when the software user was never consulted but significant choices were made in their best interests as well. Certainly there is a balance somewhere in something that might be too small or trivial and as opposed to another extreme where the user is relegated to insignificance. Taking choices to the teams and discussing solutions which impact them, is every bit as important as involving a software user.
- Find out what they think and how they think. This is a chance to connect and understand; an opportunity for innovation and creativity.
- Get impact that you might not have considered. Omniscience is not a human ability.
- Consider some alternatives and adjustments to the plan from the team. Consider even that sometimes you may not be thinking ‘heads-up’ enough for vision and strategy if this is something the team could/should already be capable of deciding.
- The team may not get the Last word or Decision – but include them in every step of the way. They are learning about the organization and processes. What they elect to change might surprise you and start to shift the organization or process in a better direction.
I wrote up a small Empowerment Quiz considering the posture of the teams I encountered. Were they defensive? Perhaps timid? Spending time having the right conversations, actions and decisions to become better teams is important for me. Ever made easier because the team is always important to me. To be able to represent the team as working on the most valuable work to the organization, that the team’s work was high quality, and that we were adjusting to meet the needs of the user is a great job to have. That a team is also improving the product, as well as it’s own skills, processes, and tools… even more so.
Shared leadership is a chance to grow and learn in an environment conducive to improvement. We help each other to be accountable. We are teaching and learning to see from different levels of perspective. Being an active part of the solution is far more valuable than swept along in the tide. The answers we search for and find ourselves tend to be more valued than the ones we are readily given. If there is a decision likely to involve them, before one is made, take it to the team.