Vintage Car

Leaders spend a lot of time in the driving seat.

Even when you’re in great shape — with maps studied, routes chosen and provisions packed — the demands of just making progress throw up an endless stream of forks in the road and decisions to take.

The best place to be? Behind the wheel, correcting the course and carrying on.

And what works for you works for project teams too.

Each project comes with its very own driving seat, and anyone big enough to sit there deserves your support. Most of the time that means keeping out of their way.

Get Out and Push

But what do you do if a key project comes to a juddering halt?

A bit of coaching can go a long way, but when a good team digs itself axle-deep in stuckness, you might have to get out and push!

That’s not a euphemism for taking over.

Putting your full weight behind a project doesn’t have to mean jumping in with size twelve boots. Far better to volunteer your strength, put your back into the job, and give them the boost of motivation that comes from attention.

When I say volunteer, I mean exactly that. Tell the team how important they are to the project and how important the project is to you, then simply offer your services as an additional resource to get things moving again, “What can I do to help?”

If they ask you to get on a plane. Pack your bag. If they need funding. Find some. Political shenanigans? Pour oil.

The Universal Adjuster is Baby Steps

The trick is to show your commitment and get the cogs turning without taking over, undermining anyone or knocking good people out of the way. Nobody wins if you do everything yourself.

The universal adjuster for stuck teams isn’t a hammer, nor is it deep analysis and grand schemes. The answer is baby steps. Little actions that make small but discernible progress. Almost anything you do will rock the wheels, and if you string a few actions together, things will start rolling.

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Innovating Leading