Halloween or Orange?

Give your team too much instruction and they can feel less empowered.  Give too little instruction and they will lack clarity.


So how do you balance the level of instruction to be more effective as a leader?  If your team says you give too much instruction or too little, here is a way to tailor how much you provide.

Start with this simple test.  Ask them what comes to mind first when you say “pumpkin”.

Those who prefer to use intuition might say something like “Halloween” or “October” or “fall”.  Something related to the pumpkin in principle, but not necessarily about the pumpkin as an object.  This person may be comfortable with less instruction.  Their intuition will fill in the gaps as necessary to make a decision.

Those who prefer to use less intuition might say “orange” or “round” or “hard”.  Characteristics of the pumpkin itself.  This person may be comfortable with more instruction and detail.  Their strength is using what is seen or heard to make a decision.

Spending more time asking questions is generally more effective than telling.  “What do you think needs to be done for this to succeed?” Or “how would you approach this?”

Give your people a compelling “why” and let them figure out the how.

Most importantly, ask for feedback!  Alignment is a process not an event.  Effective leaders tailor their approach to meet the people where the people are.