What are you looking for?

When leading a team, be careful what you are looking for. If you are looking to prove one of your sales managers doesn’t know his business you will find he doesn’t. If you are looking to show your Area Vice President doesn’t have the appropriate understanding of his cost of sales, that will be the case. If you are looking to show your sales team is lacking in product knowledge, you will be successful. If you have your mind made up it is easy to be right.

If you have a hunch or belief the team or member of the team is deficient in something you just may be right. Setting out to prove it will give you the validation you want but it doesn’t get you the truth.

To understand what is truly going on in your organization and with your team it is critical to ask questions; not leading questions or narrow questions, but broad, open questions. Assume your team knows the answers. Start from the positive. Ask lots of questions, dig deep, ask for specifics, challenge their assertions, push for more. Drilling down is good. It will give you the information you are looking for. It will validate or invalidate your assumptions. Doing it this way gives you the truth not just supports what you believe.

It’s too easy to draw conclusions about your team and organization. Many times these conclusions are based on limited data. When managing complex environments making good decisions is critical. The only thing better than making good decision is making the RIGHT decisions.

Ask questions, be open to the answers and put the assumptions away. I know it feels good to feel right, but it feels even better to BE right.