You’re stuck in the middle of a project. The deadline is a couple of days away. You and your teammates are scrambling to find any good idea to help push the project forward, but nothing really works. This team’s progress has begun to spiral downward with very little hope to bring out the best output they can. Well, it seems like you need your supervisor’s help, don’t you? It’s not really in fashion for just any supervisor to help anyone, especially if you’re employed in a large and highly structured company. But, as any other leader, you have to be informed about the importance of knowing when to get involved and being there when your team needs you. After all, leadership 101 starts when you care about your team, and knowing what it feels like to be in their shoes.
As a leader within a company, it is presumed that you have started from somewhere. You probably didn’t always have this domineering presence in the boardroom. You’ve probably even been in the same situations as that struggling team that was described earlier. The point is your experiences have led you to become the leader that you are today. You have the seniority, the connections, and the experience you’ve gained throughout your years of ascending the corporate ladder. Therefore, your privileges as a leader can help anyone or any team in need.
So, if you’re in a team and you are struggling to get the results you need alongside your teammates, you obviously don’t want to have a demanding, authoritarian boss breathing down your neck. So, as someone with a leadership position, you should be able to tell whether or not your team needs help. Here are some signs to look out for:
- A major roadblock on the project has affected your team in the middle of completing it
- The team was struck with a project budget crunch and needs your executive capabilities to help move it forward.
- Your customer needs an ego boost from you as a leader from the company, and you can restore some confidence back into your customer.
- The team needs a specific skill set for their project to be executed well, and your seniority and position can provide those special set of skills
If you spot any of these signs from your team, you might need to look into yourself and ask “Should I get involved?” and “Will I be able to help push the project forward?”
Once you’ve contemplated on how you could possibly impact the project, it’s high time that you talk to your team. Ask them about the state of the project and see if they’re really struggling. Afterward, you could ask them the magic question: “Do you need help?”
Now, this is the time your struggling team starts to well up with emotion and say, “We could need the help. Thank you!”
Once your team lets you into the project, you have to keep in mind that this is still the team’s project and you should manage your expectations. Also, you have to remember why your employees are working in this company in the first place. So, you have to note that you can only help them to a certain extent. Your employees still have control over this project. These people were assigned with this project in the first place for a reason, and they are expected to complete it. Therefore, you have to allow the team to brief you on the situation, the project as a whole, and what type of help they expect from you, before you can help. An effective leadership approach involves being a good listener and being able to adapt to any scenario that comes to you. So, you’d better follow your team’s lead and be there when they need you to help out.
Afterwards, you and your team can brainstorm on how to remedy their situation. Your main obligation as a leader (as expected) should be “problem solver”. As the overseer of all things under your domain, you are expected to come to the rescue once chaos ensues. Also, a leader has some special problem solving abilities that can aid any team.
Being a mediator in any dispute usually falls under the responsibilities of the leader. Therefore, you have the skills to deal with arguing parties that have the potential to sabotage a project’s completion. In addition, the mediator should be able to encourage others to be transparent with one another and to speak their minds in the most diplomatic way. Problems tend to arise when people don’t speak up and tell their teammates about how they could either fail or progress with some ideas for a project. Therefore, you have to be there to allow everyone the space to talk about what’s on their minds.
Furthermore, you should eliminate any kind of boundary that limits the group from fully cooperating at the optimum level. When people put boundaries, it usually can stir up some conflict, and people may even be playing for their own agenda through these boundaries. So, you should really be careful and take notice of how your team cooperates. Are people putting up boundaries? You’d better find out before it could negatively affect your team’s output. Be the proactive leader that your company deserves by promoting accountability and camaraderie.
The thing about being involved as a leader within the realm of being a problem solver is that your team will appreciate anything you bring to the table. As a leader, your number one role has to be problem solver. Your position enables you to oversee every little detail of every project your company deals with, and when project issues come pouring in, this is where your problem solving skills come into play. When you are an established leader you are obligated to ensure that everything is in tip top shape, which means that everyone is going along swimmingly with their projects. So you should better get to it and help out that struggling team you know all too well.