The Field Guide to Leading Teams

05/26“Nudge and Inspire” is way cooler than “Command and Control”

As a team lead you have two primary tools at your disposal: nudge our teammates towards the direction you’d like to go and inspire through your actions by setting a proper example yourself.

Nudging is best done gently and with care. Listen to what your team is saying, make thoughtful suggestions on where they should expend effort, and monitor the results of their work. If you’re not going where you need to go, make small course corrections to get a big impact over time. Nobody likes a hamfist.

While nudging is sometimes necessary you can usually avoid the need by first inspiring in your teammates the kind of behavior you wish to see. If you’d like people to be on time, be the first one at the meeting. Your teammates cannot raise above the example that you set for them, so start by setting a high bar.

Lead by example. Take ownership of issues, stay humble.

Best Practices

  • Managers “leverage” their time by spending small amounts to have a large impact through three activities: 1) information gathering, 2) decision making, 3) “nudging” others. Doing it right means positive high leverage actions: delegation with supervision, training and influencing processes with unique skills or knowledge. Doing it wrong means negative high leverage actions: delaying decisions, meddling, abdication, and unnecessary interruption.
  • You'll get much further in the long run with sublety and questions rather than direct orders and commands.
  • Do the same things you’re asking your team to do and with regularity. If you’re using Status Hero, do your daily check-ins on time and with the same fidelity you’d expect from your team.
  • Use comments in Status Hero to engage with team members and focus them on what matters.