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Team Leadership Tip For Managers: Thrive On Autonomy

One common cause of frustration for today's managers may have its roots in the manager's childhood.


Parents who have done a good job of raising children to do as they are told may have done a poor job of raising those same children to boldly think for themselves.


The ability to think for oneself turns out be a key management skill for team leadership, and yet it's a management skill that is often sorely lacking.


This situations turns into the following problem occurring quite frequently in the corporate world at management levels: CEO's who don't like to commit themselves by giving instructions frustrate managers who don't like to commit themselves by making their own decisions.


CEO's were often NOT raised to do as they were told.  Often, they were placed in a position where they had to figure it all out on their own.  As a result, they tend to thrive on autonomy, have an aversion to regulation, and want to be free to contradict themselves, change their minds, act on impulse, and pay “policy” no respect at all.team leadership skill


Whether you call it a leadership strength or weakness, they do not develop the communication-skill of delivering clear, thorough and rigid instructions about what they want their managers to do.


Many managers who find themselves in the position so much autonomy (and the accountability that comes with it) stress out in a desperate attempt to figure out what their leader wants from them.


They might even plague their CEO with pleading efforts to get some clarity.  This effort often backfires by annoying the CEO and inciting his or her vitriolic wrath, or passive aggressive vindictiveness, which causes the manager even more anxiety.


The solution to this common problem of instruction-scarcity emanating from the top is to embrace your autonomy for team leadership.


In the corporate world, as in life itself, the line from the Bob Dylan song applies: “He not busy being born is busy dying”.  Another way of stating the point is: “Grow up or blow up!”


The point is that in the context of no-instructions you have the OPPORTUNITY to develop your own leadership ability. 


Instead of trying to figure out what your ceo wants from you, rely on your own best judgment of how to serve the goals of your company.


team leadership skillTo gain orientation you can ask the CEO to clarify, not what he or she wants you to do, but the number one goal he or she wants you to get accomplished.


CEO's are often happy to answer this question because it helps them to clarify in their own minds the vision of the outcome they want.  Successful CEO's are great visionaries and relish the opportunity to revisit their vision for their own performance guideline.


As frightening as it may be to embrace your autonomy, you will find it far easier if you remember this professional success axiom:


Don't worry about keeping your job; just focus on doing your job to the very best of your ability.


Focus on the company's success, not your boss's approval.  If your boss shows you no appreciation for doing the right thing, don't worry about it.  You are growing into a better manager and a better leader, and that will attract to you better opportunities.


team leadership skillSo a key team leadership tip for managers is to leap headlong into whatever degree of autonomy you find yourself with, not to shrink back from it in fear.  And if you have children, DON'T raise them to do as they are told!

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