Leadership Skills: The Leadership Gift Decision Test

One of the central features of a team, and of any relationship, is interdependence — when individual actions affect others. Any member of a team can take action that moves the entire team forward or backward.

Here is a simple example: I had asked two colleagues who were stakeholders with me in a book project to meet with me so that we could formulate a response to significant changes sought by our publisher.

Before we could hold that meeting, the publisher made a proposal to me in a phone conversation that I felt good about and felt would be supported by my teammates, so I accepted.

In accepting I not only committed myself but also my fellow stakeholders who were still expecting to meet with me about this.

So here is the million-dollar question: did I do the correct thing, or, should I instead have postponed closing with the publisher until I could meet with my colleagues as they expected?

The answer of course is “it depends.” It depends first on whether my teammates feel well-represented by me and can support my decision (one did; I haven’t heard from the other yet. I did email them immediately and let them know that I made the call without checking and that I was open to their feedback about my move.). Secondarily, it depends on whether my action moved our team’s task, the book project, forward.

So why did I commit my teammates before we had our meeting? I did it for three distinct reasons.

  1. I felt clear about the team’s direction and goals and I recognized that the publisher’s offer moved us toward those goals.
  2. I had recently met  with each colleague individually to discuss the project and the publisher’s changes. I left each of those meetings with much information about my colleagues’ thoughts and preferences.
  3. When asked by the publisher to accept the proposal, I silently asked myself this simple question: “If my teammates were here with me in this conversation, what would they want me to say?” My answer was, “Go for it.”

The Leadership Gift  keys to team empowerment at work here are:

  • clear, shared direction
  • frequent, informative communication about progress, opportunities, and course corrections
  • the Leadership Gift Decision Test (“If my teammates were here, what would they have me do?”)

Apply these keys when offered the opportunity to take actions that affect your teammates.

Get Started With This 5-Minute Stretch

Think of a time that you acted autonomously after which people who relied on your actions disagreed with what you did.

Applying the three team empowerment keys, what could you have done differently?

Leaders and coaches: Get Christopher’s best team building and leadership strategies collected over two-plus decades of solving teamwork problems for smart people. Attend the acclaimed Creating Results-Based Teams workshop, or get this FREE Special Report while it lasts: The Five Flawless Steps to Building a Strong Executive Leadership Team.

Christopher Avery, PhD, is a recognized authority on how individual and shared responsibility works in the mind and an advisor to leaders worldwide.

Posted in Collaboration, Leadership on 05/07/2013 01:09 am
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