Discover more from Marcin Konkel's newsletter
How to foster ad hoc leadership among your team members and help them avoid burnout in 7 steps.
I have been busy lately with preparations for a personal reportage project that required a lot of logistics and coordination. The idea was postponed a few times this year due to unforeseen circumstances. That said, not any more. For the next two weeks or so, I will be off the grid without new content coming your way.
In the meantime, you can take a glimpse on the chat for some interesting bites of videos or articles I found online!
Now back to the regular programming. 📺
The problem: Team members waiting for managers or senior positions to fix things for them and abstaining from driving change themselves.
The definition: Ad hoc leadership as ability to take ownership of a situation or a problem and lead others without formal hierchical managerial postion.
Why should you care?
You work as a team, which requires taking ownership and responsibility. By becoming an ad hoc leader, you:
increase the probability of things getting fixed (whether directly or indirectly)
increase their company and market value as somebody who can make things happen instead of passively waiting
understand the mechanisms of getting things done in their environment
making their and their workmate's job easier.
Of course, one can say - where are the leaders who should be enablers making the environment better?
Usually, this is the first road people take, and then you hit a wall. Your leaders might have limited capacity, don’t posses the proper knowledge to get things done or not operate on their level of detail.
Your team had a retrospective and decided that whatever the reason for lack of support it’s time to make things happen on your own.👇🏼
How do you do that so you don’t get overwhelmed or burned out?
Pick your battles well - not everything needs solving right away. Go for a recurring problem that the whole team is vested in.
Why is this a problem?
If solved, how would you notice?
What is the smallest way to make progress?
What competencies are needed to solve this?
Visualize - a picture is worth more than a vocal discussion.
Take the lead - you don’t need to have complete knowledge or be able to solve it yourself. You can coordinate the efforts or pair up with somebody. Be vocal about the help you need.
I have partial knowledge of the system and need somebody who knows those two microservices. Who can help?
I’m not good at approaching stakeholders. Can somebody assist me with that?
I know how to solve this, but I don’t want to coordinate.
There is great courage in asking for help instead of being driven by ego.
Include the work in the backlog - working on improvements is also valuable and should be included in the backlog. If you skip this, then there will always be something more important to do.
Set boundaries (include them in your team working contract):
If you take the lead once, it does not mean you need to do it again.
You don’t need to coordinate everything. You might just know to solve the problem.
Don’t go for the whole ‘elephant’ if that is unnecessary. Do a small piece of work pushing things ahead that benefit others. Sometimes, you don’t need to fix the whole thing.
Communicate along the way - Communicate along the way - no need for elaborate reports. Designate time and space (each Thursday, on Slack channel XYZ, 2 p.m.) where you recap what is going on and if there are any blockers. Keep it brief. Share with a broader audience if this is cross-team.
By keeping things transparent, others can help you along the way or suggest a better route to take.
🎈Share this post if you think it can help your team mates make progress on recurring patterns.