I sometimes see managers getting very frustrated that people in their team aren’t contributing as much as they’d like.
They know, or at least suspect, they are capable of more, but for some reason some people are just not taking responsibility for making decisions or getting things done.
Ask how they see their role? They may see things differently. If you (or maybe your predecessor) have always done the thinking for them, maybe that’s accepted as the way it works.
Do they even recognise that you’d like more from them, and if so what?
When we find ourselves getting frustrated that people are not handling things the way we’d like, it’s time to reflect on how well we’ve explained our expectations, and the training and support we’ve given to help them realise these expectations.
Do they know what ‘great’ looks like so they have something against which to benchmark their performance?
Do they have all the tools, resources and enough time to meet your expectations?
Have we given feedback on how they’re doing and comparing it to their understanding or perception of what’s needed?
Are they kept up to date? Quite apart from the fact no one wants to look uninformed, especially in front of colleagues or customers, unless they know ‘what’s happening where’, it will always be difficult for your team members to make considered decisions.
But probably the most important question to ask is: are we giving them the freedom, confidence and autonomy to do what they’re capable of doing and to fully contribute.