TSB 059: Stop Being Your Team's Superhero (and Let Them Shine Instead)

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TSB 059: Stop Being Your Team's Superhero (and Let Them Shine Instead)

Let's face it, running a nonprofit can be like juggling flaming bowling pins blindfolded on a unicycle. You wear a lot of hats: strategic visionary, budget magician, cheerleader, conflict mediator... the list goes on. And sometimes, in the noble quest to keep everything afloat, you might find yourself slipping into another role entirely: problem-solver extraordinaire.

You see a team member struggling, and bam, your cape swoops in. You swoop in because you care, because you're passionate, and because, let's be honest, you're probably pretty darn good at fixing things. But hold on, CEO extraordinaire, before you become everyone's personal genie, let's rethink this rescue mission.

Because here's the truth: while your heroic problem-solving might feel good in the moment, it's actually doing your team a disservice in the long run. Here's why:

1. You're robbing them of growth opportunities.

Think about it. Every time you swoop in with the perfect solution, you're essentially taking away a chance for your team to learn and develop. They miss out on the critical thinking, creative problem-solving, and resilience that comes from navigating challenges themselves. Remember, empowerment is key to building a strong, independent team. 

2. You're creating a dependency loop.

The more you solve problems for your team, the more they come to expect it. This creates a dangerous cycle where they look to you for every answer, hindering their own initiative and problem-solving skills. It's not sustainable, and it ultimately puts a burden on you (remember those flaming bowling pins?).

3. You're neglecting your bigger-picture vision.

As CEO, your time is precious. It should be focused on the strategic direction of your organization, not getting bogged down in everyday fixes. By empowering your team to solve their own problems, you free yourself up to focus on the bigger picture and drive real impact.

So, how do you make the shift from superhero to supportive coach?

Here are a few tips:

    • Shift your language. Instead of saying, "Let me handle that," try, "What ideas do you have to solve this?" or "How can I support you in finding a solution?"
    • Ask open-ended questions. Encourage critical thinking by asking questions that prompt reflection and analysis. What have you tried already? What are the potential roadblocks? What resources might be helpful?
    • Provide guidance, not answers. Offer frameworks, tools, or resources that can help your team approach the problem. Share relevant experiences or insights, but avoid giving away the answer.
    • Celebrate their successes. When your team finds solutions on their own, acknowledge and celebrate their achievement. This reinforces their confidence and encourages them to take ownership.
    • Be patient. This is a transition, and it takes time. There will be bumps along the road, but trust the process and resist the urge to jump in and save the day.

Remember, your role is to empower, not to solve. By letting your team take ownership of their challenges, you'll foster a culture of growth, initiative, and ultimately, a stronger, more successful organization.

And hey, if you find yourself struggling to make this shift, guess what? We're here to help. At IntuWork, we specialize in equipping leaders with the tools and resources they need to build high-performing, empowered teams. So, take off that cape, CEO, and let your team shine. We'll be right here cheering them on (and you!) every step of the way.

Ready to ditch the superhero routine and unlock the full potential of your team? Contact us today!

P.S. Check out our other blog post for more resources on leadership, team development, and creating a thriving nonprofit culture.

That's all for today. I'll see you again next Saturday!

Whenever you're ready, there are three ways we can help you:

  1. Register for one of our upcoming workshops here. 
  2. Learn the strengths and growth areas for your team and its members here.
  3. Get expert advice to help transform the culture of your organization and develop better leaders here. 

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