Are you the default team problem-solver for your teams? Did you earn that default role by chance or design? Are you enjoying the role?
If you collaborate on teams, you know that problem-solving together is complex and sometimes frustrating. During some meetings, everyone is on fire and of one mind! Then, during other meetings, perspectives and energy are all over the place.
Realistically, these are normal and expected team dynamics. There should be some variation in each team member’s perspective and approach. Without some variation – usually based on new learnings and insights – problem-solving becomes rote, rather than innovative.
Take a look around your workspace, regardless of whether it is hybrid, virtual, or on-site. How do you characterize the dynamics of your teams?
- Which teams continuously sparking the spark, seeking new approaches and insights to solving problems?
- Why are other (or all) teams operating on auto-pilot problem-solving mode, led by a default team leader?
- What teams energize you more than others?
- How do you characterize your own problem-solving participation in each team?
When teams rely on a default team problem solver, they gradually lose the collective ability to discern whether a problem is unique or common. Over time, teams arrive at “good enough” solutions rather than proactive and anticipatory ones. Consider that these outcomes result even when the default team leader is genuinely interested in bringing out the best in her teams. In addition, not all default leaders represent dominant personalities. Some default leaders simply lead complacent teams. Overall, when teams rely on a default team problem solver, members unconsciously or consciously relinquish their individual responsibilities and accountabilities to each other and their clients. Is this the type of problem-solving scenario you want to hang your professional hat on?
Together, assess how each of your teams operates. How can each one of you recharge your own problem-solving mojo? Consider that your default team problem solver wants to rely on your innovative insights and participation more and more: today, tomorrow, and moving forward together. By better serving each other, first, you better serve clients together: one millimeter at a time.
Babette Ten Haken’s One Millimeter Mindset™ programs catalyze people who solve problems differently to collaborate more successfully. Her goal is for you to become more professionally visible, cross-functionally relevant, and strategically valuable. Babette is a business-oriented STEM professional, qualitative Voice of the Customer facilitator, PMI-certified Wicked Problem Solver, Duke Corporate Education licensed Strategic Agility practitioner, and Six Sigma Green Belt (Quality). She is a member of SHRM, PMI, the National Speakers Association (NSA). Her playbook of cross-functional collaboration, Do YOU Mean Business? is available in soft cover and digital formats on Amazon.com. Contact Babette here. Image source: Adobe Stock.