Leaders have a natural tendency to problem solve, which is a core responsibility. However, not requiring others to think is limiting.
- Limitation of personal growth: If leaders handle all the problem solving and the pursuit of opportunities, it limits the growth of others who are capable.
- Limitation of the leader’s growth: Those in a leadership role have had their fair share of problem solving experience, and have graduated to giving guidance to others and helping solve the largest problems, and capture the largest opportunities. If they let everything fall on their desk, the larger opportunities will not be seized, nor will the largest problems be solved efficiently.
Not only is this method empowering and more efficient – it also leads to better decisions. Two thinkers are better than one, and the real function a leader should play is to challenge each idea and help others decide on the best solution. More often than not, the individual will develop the solution if given the opportunity to think it through, and then the solution can be made even better by working together to vet and finalize the approach.
If this is happening in your organization, it may be that others around you have the perception that they are not allowed to make decisions / come up with solutions. They may have come from a different environment and the concept is foreign to them. If this is the case, make the culture known and advocate for “thinking before problem-dumping”.
We should seek success by continuously surrounding ourselves with those that have achieved it. Successful people are extremely influential in regards to us believing we can achieve the same level of success, but only if we have them in our lives. The biggest issue is the belief that successful people have no desire to help, which prevents others from trying to gain their mentorship. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Of course there needs to be some synergy and they must believe you are capable and ready to take things to the next level, but as long as those two items are true, it is rare for a successful person to deny a request for mentorship. Just remember that they like to win and that they are willing to invest their time in you because they think you can win.
A great example is with company boards, or the lack thereof. If a company does not have a board, or has a poorly staffed board, it screams that the leadership team does not desire to be pushed to the next level. The purpose of a board is to hold the leadership team accountable, to give advice, to assist in the company’s success, etc.. Those that are intimidated by the idea of a top-notch board, are likely afraid of success. Board seats usually are not making anyone rich, so why are these successful people willing to participate? Because they want to help. If that is not the reason, we should get them off the board and replace them with someone who does. A board with little depth may be worse than not having a board at all.
After graduating (succeeding), always be moving on to the next course, and don’t be afraid to ask for help; it is surprising how many people are willing and waiting to be asked. And on this same note, be prepared to give back to those that ask for mentorship.