Call Declined (How not answering my phone lead to innovation)

Green or Red?

Thats the big question we all have to ask ourselves when we feel the vibration in our pocket and look at the screen to see one of our team members calling. We have a choice to make, do with accept or decline? 

Early on in my leadership journey I was leading a team of volunteers. In one of my recent articles “Why It’s Not Happening (By “It” I Mean All Those Things You’ve Delegated)” I talked about how much I was a horrible micromanager. I always wanted to put my nose in every activity that was taking place to ensure it was getting done the way I wanted it. Not only did this frustrate my team and rob me of my time, but it also stifled any chance of innovation and creativity for my team. I was constantly telling them how to think. It got to the point where my team would call me to ask what I would do for decisions that any person could make. 

I made a decision. One Friday, my phone rang. It was one of my team members who was working on a project that I knew they were calling for a solution on. I declined the call. I focused on the things that I knew that only I could do and let them think for themselves. 

When I arrived at the venue for our event I was met by my team member who apologetically told me that they had made a decision without me because they couldn’t reach me. I looked at what had been done. It was definitely not something I would have told them to do. 

It was better. 

I realised in that moment something needed to change. I began to empower my team to make decisions more and had less input into decisions that I didn’t need to make. I didn’t decline their calls all the time, but when they would call and ask a question within their authority my response would simply be “I think you have what it takes to find a solution for this” or “you make the call on this one“. We saw some of our greatest creativity and innovation take place and I was released to focus on the things that really mattered for me in my role at that time. 

It takes courage to let your team make decisions because there’s always the possibility that things won’t get done how you want them. However, there’s also the possibility they could get done far better than you could have imagined. 

Why not have a go this week. Hit the red button. Whatever that looks like for you.