The One Question Holding You Back at Work

The One Question Holding You Back at Work – Stop Asking “How”

Faced with a difficult new task? Don’t make it harder than it is – just do it. Too often, our minds are held hostage by self-imposed restrictions and our impression of the expectation of others. So, if you really want to push yourself and aim for success, avoid asking this question that’s holding you back at work – never ask “How?”

The greatest thinkers in history were never given an instruction guide. In fact, after trying, failing, and learning from their mistakes, they all wrote the guides that we’ve grown up studying. Rather than learning how to innovate on our own, too many of us are guilty of lazily following the examples set before us. Take it upon yourself to push the boundaries, to create and to test the limits. Learn how to change your perspective, and forge onward – leave your instructions behind.

holding you back at work

Instructions Are Holding You Back at Work

As a senior manager, your job is to lead others to perform at their best. Micromanagement is understood to be an ineffective strategy – furthermore, it prevents your employees from developing real critical thinking and problem solving skills. By consistently handing each of your employees the solution on a silver platter, you can be sure that nothing original or revolutionary will come across your desk. If your industry relies on maintaining the status quo, perhaps this is a standard that may not change. But to stand out from your competitors, to overcome monotony and to implement real change in your company, disruption should be viewed as a path to liberation from stagnation.

So strive to inspire, to hire quick-thinkers and inventors, pioneers and trailblazers. Value your employees for their minds, their capability to create. Demonstrate that you trust their judgment, and foster a culture that prizes the process, as well as the final product. Don’t allow your workforce to fall victim to mediocrity.

Controlled Chaos – What Your Team Needs to Innovate Effectively

It’s imperative to establish an atmosphere that rewards spontaneous and creative thinking. These values should be demonstrated in every part of your company’s culture, and your employees need to trust that their efforts will be recognized and appreciated.

For many tasks, your organization has most likely developed standard practices. For the most part, this is an admirable practice – uniformity aids in avoiding confusion and miscommunication. However, some tasks – particularly “big picture” and long-term projects – beg for new processes. So stress to your staff that for these tasks, they are encouraged to throw out the rule book and conceptualize as they see fit.

Begin coaching your employees to devise unique solutions to your biggest challenges. Provide them with an overview of the problem to be solved. Brief them on all necessary points, and allow questions. But leave just enough ambiguity in the steps between that your staff feels comfortable thinking outside the normal realms of your organization, your industry, and their job descriptions.

Create The Right Conditions

Implementing a time and place for your employees to explore, to invent and to present their thoughts will aid your company in transitioning towards a more free-thinking structure. Offices with rigid structure, strict hierarchies and analog working processes are quickly becoming the rarity; the formerly ubiquitous “Office Space” working culture is a throwback to a dying norm. But not every organization allows the freedom to fail, the space to try new things. So usher in your next era of free-thinking by offering your employees a safe space.

Weekly innovation meetings, interdepartmental and without imposed guidelines or agendas, are one way to start. Team members working together to solve a common problem can use this time to discuss and to create, to scribble their brainstorms on a whiteboard and to devise unconventional methods for issues that may have plagued your organization for too long.

The important factor here is to agree on finding solutions to a common issue, without restricting the means used to achieve these ends. The beauty of problem solving lies in the unconventional routes taken to discover the perfect answer. When you motivate your employees to determine their own path, and to find their own preferred set of tools, your entire company stands to benefit from the results. Your employees will benefit from the freedom of exploration, and process guidelines will stop holding you back at work, allowing your team to prosper and succeed. Be a manager that seeks to inspire, not to instruct.