The Trap That Even Good Leaders Fall Into
Do you want to be a good leader?
I know I do.
Thankfully, there’s plenty of advice out there about how to be a good leader.
But there’s one assumption that most people make about what it means to be a good leader that’s counterproductive. It’s actually a blind spot that can hurt your ability to lead well.
A Leadership Blind Spot
It all stems from the expectation that leaders know what they’re doing and can guide us to successful outcomes.
So it’s no wonder that as leaders, we put pressure on ourselves to have all the answers. And once we’ve done the work and gained the experience to have the answers, we want to show our work by sharing our answers and advice.
It’s natural to feel that way.
Maybe your team means a great deal to you and it’s important to you that you lead them well. Perhaps you recently got put in charge and want to show you know what you’re doing.
And maybe it just plain feels good to help your team with their challenges and demonstrate your value.
But whether you’re leading a small project, a large team or something in between, when you feel you have to provide all the answers, this can make you less effective as a leader.
When you become the “answer machine” – as in your team members come to you with questions or for advice and you give them an answer right away – you put your team and yourself at risk.
It might even limit your career prospects.
That’s where my friend Michael Bungay Stanier can truly help.
The Advice Trap
Michael is the author of The Coaching Habit and now his newest latest book is called The Advice Trap: Be Humble, Stay Curious & Change the Way You Lead Forever.
If you want to be a better leader in these challenging times, check out my interview with Michael where you’ll discover:
- The most powerful thing you can do as a leader in times of uncertainty
- How to tame your Advice Monster and the three ways it may be undermining your success
- How to build your reputation – and avoid damaging it – while working from home
- How to be more deliberate about what you say yes to
I highly recommend Michael’s book The Advice Trap – it’s filled with actionable strategies and scripts to help you become an even better leader for your team.
How Will You Lead?
Everyone needs guidance at times. But before you jump in with your advice to save the day, take a moment to reflect on what your team really needs from you.
Is it the moment to give your advice or is it time to tame your Advice Monster?
The next time you get the urge to quickly dive in with ideas, opinions, and solutions, consider your team and the kind of leader you want to be for them. Choose the path that will best support, empower and develop your team.
And soon, they’ll be coming up with their own solutions and making you look good in the process!
When do you find yourself falling into the advice trap?
Leave a comment and let me know.