As a leader, what have you left unsaid?
So often, my unforced errors as a leader came down to a simple thing: communication.
Okay, maybe it’s not a simple thing. Doing this well takes constant reflection on what needs to be said, what has been left unsaid, how things should be said, the right level of transparency, etc.
Here’s a few areas where I messed up:
Do they know I put this person in charge?
We had a major initiative that, of necessity, combined three teams cross-functional teams. Normally I try to minimize team interdependencies but this time it was hard to avoid. To increase the odds of success, I asked one of my Product VPs — very strong, very experienced — to run point across all three. In our 1-on-1, I explained that I wanted a single owner to drive effectiveness and momentum, and this person agreed. However, it seems that in amongst all the many balls I had in the air, I didn’t actually get in front of all 3 teams and say, “This person is in charge. It doesn’t matter which function you come from or who you report to: this person is in charge.”
A couple of months later, with the teams still struggling to build momentum, I was talking things over with this VP. They noted that I never made their mandate clear to everyone. I ask myself now: why did I overlook this? Had I simply moved on because now the problem was in the hands of someone I trusted? Was I (Read more...)