This is part 2 of a 4 part series on “4 Reasons Asking Questions Is Better
Than A Dictatorship.”
Than A Dictatorship.”
I used to think that my talent for quick decision making is what made me a great leader. It may make for a great, quick decision, but it doesn’t create a unified team.
Creating alignment with your team is how you take any committee, group, or mix of people and turn them into an unstoppable, unified force.
How, then, do you get there? Well, first you have to understand the decision making process.
It Can take Up to 15 Steps to Make a Decision or Solve a Puzzle
The way that our brains are wired, it can take up to 15 or more steps to come to a logical solution or to comprehend a new complex concept. In other words, it takes time for each of us to reach a conclusion to a problem or puzzle. That’s 100% normal.
Some of us who are able to skip steps here and there. After years of talking to clients, I’ve discovered that skipping steps to reach a solution is common place for me. Often the solution seems very clear and obvious to me and feel it should be easy for others to see as well. That’s usually not the case. Others my need more context, logic, or basic history. Providing that information is critical to leadership.
Many of us reach a conclusion or solution in our own way. When we are required to complete a task without full context we aren’t as invested in implementing it. Think about it. If the issue is weight loss and I tell you to watch what you eat and exercise, you’re not going to like me very much. You may also ignore my solutions. On the other hand, if you create your own plan you are usually 100% dedicated and absolutely nothing will be able to stop you!
Great Team Leaders Guide Others Through the Steps to the Answers
Given this fact, when a team or committee is tasked with solving an issue, each member has to have time to go through their steps to reach a conclusion. In order to effectively lead, I’ve had to transition from presenting the solution to providing more context so my team can reach a solution themselves. It requires a lot of patience, well-timed questions, and gentle nudges and it is possible!
Now that the entire team has an answer, it’s time to turn them into an unstoppable force.
Understanding and Agreeing: The Four Magic Questions
For a team of five people, you may have anywhere between 1 and 5 solutions to your problem. By utilizing the Understand and Agree method (I usually call it U&A), we’re able to whittle that down to a single, unified strategy.
And the four questions in the U&A are these:
- What do you understand?
- What do you not understand?
- What do you agree with?
- What do you disagree with?
By using those four magic questions and the 15 step process together, we reach a consensus. And, because everyone’s worked through the entire process together, we’re each committed and fully invested in both the solution and in our team.
As the team lead, then, it’s not my job to dictate or present the solution. It’s my job to effectively communicate with my team and my clients. Once I do that, everything else will fall into place.