Leitz's Great Leadership Series Team Enablement

The who, what, when, why, and how principle of leadership.

Goal

Have a high functioning team. You need your teams to be running at a high level. Maximum productivity. High levels of enthusiasm and morale.

Disease Category

Leadership deficit.

Symptoms

  1. Missing critical deadlines.
  2. Standup statuses aren't progressing. Team members not completing tasks regularly.
  3. Deliveries have many bugs and defects.
  4. Low team morale.
  5. Team disengaged from group discussions.

Diagnosis

The team lead or manager has done a poor job with enablement.

Prescription

Ensure each team member can clearly answer the how, what, when, who, and why for their tasks.

How to do the work?

This is the most important one. Everyone on your team should have the ability to complete their task sucessfully. The task can be challenging for them but not baffling or impossible.

Either reassign the task to someone who can complete it or get them the help they need to get it done.

What exactly is required by the story or task?

Add acceptance criteria and discuss the story or task fully in planning. Followup with the team member during 1-1s and ensure they know what's required.

When is this task due?

All stories and tasks should have deadlines. If a story doesn't have a deadline, it will drift aimlessly.

Who should the team member talk to if they have a question?

It needs to be clear who exactly answers these types of questions. The last thing you need is for someone to waste time trying to guess the answer to their question. Make sure they know the key contacts.

For example

  • Who should be contacted with deployment issues?
  • Who should answer how the feature should behave under certain conditions?
  • Who should be code reviewing this?

Why are we doing this work?

All team members should know how their work contributes to the current priorities of the team or company.

Conclusion

Here's one set of tips on how to improve your leadership abilities. I wrote it like a page on a medical website. It has the category of problem, the symptoms, the diagnosis, and a prescription to fix it.

A team running under a great leader will be able to answer all these questions.

As a test, walk up to one of your team members and ask them the above questions about the task they're working on. See how they do.

If they hesitate or don't know the answers, work on your leadership. Fix these issues and your team will not only work at a higher level of productivity but they'll be happier at their jobs!