Today, during practice with a team that is sick, I challenged myself to assume less. Kinda like a virtuous doc, I began with some simple questions about what is troubling the two of them – yes this is a team of two. I didn’t simply let them answer my questions, they were both forced to write, first. As the two talked the root problems became clearer and clearer. The root was not the problem associate. The root was not the lack of detailed photo’s regarding their completed work. The root was not the softness or stubbornness of either teammate. The root problem was the leader.
You see, whether you want to believe it or not, the root problem with almost all sick systems is found in the unhealthy behaviors of it’s leader/leaders. Yes, every leader gets exactly the team they deserve. Of course this isn’t true all of the time, so don’t get off track or hung up on some kinda righteous objection to an absolute. Study any history, however, and try to come back with a different melody line to what ails sick systems throughout the history of time. So, leader, look in the mirror before you default to looking out the window. Look in the mirror and get busy working on your blemishes, the ones you’ve been looking away from for far too long. Look in the mirror. Assume less about the health of your behaviors. Good.
And, surround yourself with a few truth tellers who will serve you like virtuous side mirrors on your car – they will tell you about the trouble you can’t quite see, but it’s there. Your truth tellers will illuminate your blind spots – if you listen.
Today, a team of two was given some feedback from a truth teller. I assumed less and hit the unhealthy pair even though it didn’t feel good pointing out the need for more acute pain. Leaders, it is your job to hit and hug regardless the reality/pain of the people you’re leading. Your job is to lead. And, leaders, do not be satisfied in treating surface symptoms and get all giddy when you comfort the sick with something sweet. I mean, come on man, would you want your cancer doc to make you feel better or actually make you better? Of course we know you want your doc to get to the root and kill the rebel cells regardless how much it hurts. Get to the root, leaders.
Assume less along the way. Assume less. Good..