In my experience of coaching leaders in organisations, many leaders share that they have expectations on their team members to pick up on the tasks that they are assigned and execute them quickly. These leaders feel that their team should have a good understanderstanding even when minimal instructions are given. This is because they believe that their team have the cognitive ability to analyse and implement the required action steps with minimal hand-holding.
When a reality check is enforced, the leaders are generally disappointed, with a few exceptions to the case. Most of their team fail to produce the expected outcome, they tend to delay and miss the timelines of work, they become less trusted to deliver the outcome, they are often seen to be over-stressed due to multiple priorities and they lack skills to delegate tasks which are not very clear to them.
In my coaching experience, I share with the leaders a model called “Partnering” which enables a higher quality of effective leadership.
In the Partnering Model, there are 4 steps that supports the leader to create a more effective leadership relationship with his team. The acronym is “P.C.C.A”. These steps are; firstly- the “P” which stands for “PAGE”. Here the leader needs to ensure that his team have clarity on their assigned tasks, ie. they are on the same page as he is. He can check the quality of clarity by asking them questions and encouraging them to ask questions so that both parties have a similar understanding. These questions are focussed on the key words which may have more than one meaning. So exploring these words and paying attention to the various levels of understanding ensures that the partnering is taking place. No party is making unnecessary assumptions.
Secondly, the “C” which stands for “CHECK-IN”. Here the leader needs to ensure that he checks-in with his team on an intermittent basis. This process of checking-in is part of the partnering model. This initiative will help to build a more open communication channel. It also projects a message to the team that they have the liberty to share updates especially in areas they feel they are stuck. Consequently, the quality of trust between the leader and his team is strengthened and more importantly, the leader is showcasing his level of empathy towards his team. The team starts to feel that their leader cares about the quality of their output and is continuously supportive.
The third step in the partnering model is the “C” which stands for “CHALLENGE”. Here the leader challenges his team to craft ways to do the following- improve the work quality, the speed of the progress, the quantity of their output, the cost of their initiatives, etc. This step of partnering forces the team to think out of the box and design new ways of working. The leader continuously encourages them to become courageous in this volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world. He shows his supportive mindset and pioneers them to become sensitive and relevant to the current market trends as well as emphathetic to their customers’ changing needs.
The final process of the partnering model is the “A” which stands for “AWARENESS”. Here is leader is encouraged to harvest the learnings the team has attained during this process of working on this project. Some of these learnings include – how well they worked with each other, how creative they were during times when they were stuck, the quality of communication between the team as well as with their leader, the importance of trust building, the change in their level of courage to try out new things, the feeling of being empowered during the process, etc. The leader partners with them to solidify their learnings and encourages them to leverage on them regularly in the future.
Overall, the team feel the energy of the partnership with the leader who has continuously supported them, listened to them when they were stuck, embraced their vulnerable areas, respected their lack of courage and honoured them by motivating them to step out of their comfort zone and think differently. This high quality of partnering becomes a keystone in effective leadership.