It’s interesting to me how trends come in waves when I coach executives. Lately, the trend has been leaders asking, “How do I get my team to think like me?” The question has come from members of senior leadership teams, individual senior executives, and mid-level leaders. In other words, it doesn’t really matter what level the leader is operating at, pretty much everyone lately is asking the question.
When leaders ask that question, they’re not really wishing or expecting that their team members think exactly like them on every issue or solve a particular problem the same way they would. What they’re really looking for is a level of confidence that their team members assess an opportunity, problem, or situation with the same kind of judgment and perspective that they would themselves and then act accordingly.
Easier said than done, but it can definitely be done if the leader practices what I call perspective transference. As I write about in The Next Level, as a designated leader in your organization, you have a unique perspective that is informed by the information flows, decision making chains, and relationships that you’re exposed to simply because you’re in the role you’re in. That perspective informs your priorities and your decisions. All of that is useful but unless you transfer that perspective to your team, you leave a ton of value on the table and your leadership doesn’t scale.
If you want to get more of the right things done faster, you need to get your team to think like you. You do that through perspective transference. Sharing your answers with your team to any or all of the following questions on a regular basis will help you do that:
- What does your boss expect of you? Why?
- What does overall success look like from your perspective?
- What’s the longer game?
- What are the competitive and other influential forces you see in the market?
- How do the current and upcoming individual initiatives hang together in a coherent plan?
- If you start the sentence, “We’re doing this, so that…”, what comes after the “so that”?
- What do you know that your team probably doesn’t know? How does that inform your thought process?
- What criteria do you use to make a decision?
- What’s the highest and best use of your time and attention in alignment with the picture of success you’re trying to create?
- What’s your take on the highest and best use of your team’s time and attention in alignment with the picture of success you’re trying to create?
These questions shouldn’t lead to a one and done conversation. Perspective transference is iterative and takes time. You want to create an ongoing dialogue around questions like these. And by no means is this is an exhaustive list of questions you should ask and answer to transfer your perspective to your team. What other questions can you think of that would help the cause? Please share them in a comment on LinkedIn or email me.
Perspective transference is a force multiplier. When you practice it, you help your team level up. They develop faster and more fully. You scale your leadership. You get more good stuff done.
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