CinnamonRollI enjoyed an excellent cinnamon roll at the Grand Traverse Pie Company this morning! The better part of the encounter was talking with someone about how to lead others. She recently took on a new role at work that requires leading a team, never formally being in a leadership role, she was quite nervous.


One of the things we discussed was the ability of team members to anticipate needs. The team she leads works in support of others in the organization. When doing their jobs well they were at least one step ahead of those they worked with during the day. Some of the team members have been doing this job for 20 years. Yet, still they would wait until asked to perform a task.

This was perplexing to her because she always tried to think about what was needed next. In our discussion three things became evident

  • Permission
  • Education
  • Accountability


First, she had to make sure each person had permission to work ahead. We determined that some of the team members may be waiting because they did not believe they could do the next thing without being told. She needed to clearly give permission to these employees. They needed to know that it was not necessary to wait to take action.

Next, it was important to make sure each team member was trained properly. If you do not know what to do, you can not do it. Sounds simple, but we often forget this when working with others. We discussed strategies for the best way to educate all team members on the processes necessary for their job. They need to gain more understanding in order to anticipate.

Lastly, once permission is given and understanding is gained through education, each team member must be held accountable. When you know what to do and are given permission to do it. It must be done! She needed to hold the team members accountable to results.

Permission is relatively easy, unless we have control issues! Education and accountability require extra work. While some short term pain might be required, the long term gains are worth it.

When you find yourself frustrated with someone's performance. Ask yourself:
Do they have permission to carry out their responsibilities?
Have they been equipped to carry out the tasks?
Have I held them accountable?

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