» Ladder of Leadership – Grow Your People Series, Part 2 of 4 Ladder of Leadership – Grow Your People Series, Part 2 of 4 – David Marquet

Ladder of Leadership – Grow Your People Series, Part 2 of 4

Weekly Nudge: When you recognize “tell me what to do” and have resistance to people telling you what they think, try breaking the problem up in to smaller parts and asking “What can you tell me …”

Now here’s the important part – it doesn’t matter if you think you know the answers to those questions.

We are going to pick up from last week. Remember, you are the SVP of Operations for the ABC Widget Company. Last week your Production Supervisor, Andy Worshek brought you a problem without a solution, a camouflaged “tell me what to do.” You recognized the trap of “tell me what to do” resisted it and asked him what he thought.

If people have had a long history of working for a top-down boss then they might be reluctant to immediately volunteer what they think. This week we are going to try our first strategy which is to “make it small.” Instead of asking Andy to solve the whole problem; I’m going to try and have him describe parts of it. Let’s watch again.

Andy: Hey boss, we have a problem with this week’s shipment. Because of our unscheduled machine outage we don’t have time to do our inspection.

David: Well, what do you think we should do?

Andy: I don’t know. You’re the boss.

David: OK, can you tell me more this shipment?

Andy: Not much. It’s to customer 45324 and it’s our weekly batch of 10,000 widgets. We’ve been shipping this for the last couple years.

David: Thanks…can you tell me more about the inspection?

Andy: Sure. We started doing inspections after a run of bad parts were shipped and we lost a couple customers. I was never a huge fan the inspections but no one asked me. I told them the problem was we didn’t have the machine calibrated and since it’s been calibrated we almost never find a bad part.

OK, let’s call that success. You’ll notice we’re not trying to get Andy to answer the question whether we should skip the inspection or not – that’s too big a jump. We’re just getting him to tell us what he knows. Notice to, that we (the company) haven’t helped a whole lot. Andy only knows the customer by their 5-digit code, he doesn’t even know who they are.

So here’s the Weekly Nudge….

Weekly Nudge: When you recognize “tell me what to do” and have resistance to people telling you what they think, try breaking the problem up in to smaller parts and asking “What can you tell me …”

Now here’s the important part – it doesn’t matter if you think you know the answers to those questions.

Next week we are going to try another strategy. We’ll see if David can move Andy from “tell me what to do” to “I think.”

Watch – Part 1

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