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There’s trouble at t’mill! Things haven’t worked out as expected. It may be a supplier has let down, it may be that a customer is unhappy with your service. It happens.

As a leader, what do you do?

The temptation is to dive in, fix the issues and come out as the hero! The dopamine fix you get as a result is a massive stimulant.

But what does this look like to your team and how does it help in the long run?

To your team it looks like you don’t trust them to solve issues and in the long run it will result them turning to you time and time again whenever anything goes wrong.

Does it still feel so good?

It’s hard standing back but letting people solve issues is a great leadership skill that helps people grow from the experience. Of course, if you are asked for help you should do everything you can to show support but don’t be so quick to take over.

As leader, the next thing to do is analyse the situation against the regular pattern. Is this a one-off occurrence or part of a trend?

That’s where we can add huge amounts of value, by understanding the root cause and working with the team to put controls in place so that similar issues don’t happen again.

When asking “what went down” do it with perspective and not from the front line!