Do you ever, as a team player, find yourself hesitant to make a decision?

Leader! Are you a helicopter boss who constantly hovers over the team?

Do you, team player, experience paralysis through analysis? You analyze the situation eight ways to Sunday.

Team player! You’re the one closest to the issue. Why don’t you act, instead of waiting for management to make a move?

The team might have valid reasons for second guessing themselves. Then again, these thoughts could be myths. Or, maybe it’s the way the leader is showing up. Here are a few reasons why the team hits the brake instead of stepping on the gas and making a decision:



You lack confidence.

You’re afraid of failure.

You don’t have the skills.

You pass the buck hoping someone else will eventually step up.

“What will everybody think?”

“This solution is too obvious. What’s wrong with my idea?”



You’re afraid of empowering others because of your own self interests. “If I give them too much authority, I’ll be out of a job.”

“I really want my people to make more decisions.” Have you equipped your team so they feel confident in making important choices?

Your constituents are afraid you’ll go crazy if it doesn’t work out.

You don’t support them on the decisions they do make.

You’re setting the example of being indecisive yourself.

You’re a perfectionist and have never made a mistake.


What if you had an environment with a team of self-directed leaders? A place where people are empowered to make decisions. As the team player, how would you feel about your job if you had confidence to make tough choices? Instead of being immersed in the minutia, you the leader could focus on the big picture. What does your business look like now?

Benjamin Zander is conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and professor at the New England Conservatory of Music. When his students make a mistake, he encourages them to say “How fascinating!” He says in his book, The Art of Possibility, “it is only when we make mistakes in performance that we can really begin to notice what needs attention.”

What are your thoughts on self-directed work teams? Does your organization encourage you to take risks and learn from mistakes? I’ll be writing more on this topic. I’d appreciate your comments below. Thank you.


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