Recently, I’ve been trying to ask the question, “How can I help?” When I ask it, I’m not expecting people to say, “lend a hand or pitch in and help me finish my work faster.” I expect them to highlight questions and issues that slow or stop them.
One example that was reported to me included another department not getting a particular job done on time. For a long period of time, the supervisor thought that it was her team that was moving slow. As she asked questions and listened, she realized that the slowness was due to another department that moved slowly due to organizational obstacles. Rather than challenge the “slow” department, the supervisor provided better information on the obstacles, their impact to her organizational heads. This, in turn, help them directly address the problem, improving production for all.
So, when a leader asks, “How can I help?” the expectation isn’t for an answer from a team member to help them do their job, but rather, to specifically eliminate roadblocks. That’s why I see the role of the leader not dis-similar to the one that John the Baptist played (Malachi 3:1; Luke 1:17;76; John 1:23) for Jesus the Christ–to make smooth the road for the real work of the organization.
What can you do as a leader in your organization, not to take over the work of your team, but to make straight the way they must go, removing obstacles from in front of them?
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