The Field Guide to Leading Teams

10/26Be the blocker bulldozer.

If there is one thing you do as a team lead and only one, it’s this: It’s on you to be the bulldozer and clear blockers for your team. Blockers are issues that you cannot control but prevent your team from making forward progress towards the goal. In many organizations, team leads have far more leverage than contributors to clear obstacles and blockers on behalf of their team.

There is no better way to serve your team than to remove obstacles and blockers for them.

If someone is blocked, they are likely idled, and their flow of work is interrupted. Don’t put it off, do it now.

PS: To clear blockers you must first have blockers coming your way. Let your team know that you’re at their service. Take the first blockers that come in very seriously no matter how small and you’ll get more coming in time. There will always be more blockers, your team just needs to trust that you’ll do something about them.

Best Practices

  • In Status Hero, managers are notified when someone reports a blocker. Jump on it right away.
  • Examine past blockers in retros and 1:1 to preemptively avoid them in the future.