Leaders pool resources and people to make vision happen. They need to have a bird’s-eye view of their enterprise to make sure that the big picture does not morph into something that is not meant to be. At the same time, leaders should spend time in the trenches with technical teams.
In bringing everything together and making it happen, leaders easily get frustrated when teams do not deliver at a pace consistent with their expectations. This is often the result of leaders not fully understanding or appreciating the processes that their teams go through from meetings to implementation.
Every leader must spend time in the trenches with their teams. This is truer for their technical and creative teams.
Here’s why every leader needs to spend time in the trenches with their technical teams:
Spending time with your teams allows you to get a better understanding of what is behind the results of each of your teams.
You cannot appreciate what you do not understand.
Being behind the scenes can help you appreciate your teams’ hustle. Teams that feel unappreciated are often led by leaders who do not take time to understand what their work is like.
Being in the trenches can help leaders pick up language relevant to each team or discipline. This will be helpful for innovation and productivity, as it will equip you to speak straight into the heart of execution when you meet or communicate with them.
Disconnect between what teams deliver and what leaders require is often a result of them speaking different languages. Understanding some of the technical languages enables leader to understand things with reduced interjections.
When a leader can speak the language of his technical team it fosters unity and endears respect of the team.
When leaders spend time in the trenches, it allows their teams to see that they are real people. People relate to others when they find common things with other people.
They only way this can happen is when time is spent with others. Your team needs to know you’re human. They need to know you face challenges just like they do.
Spending time with your teams gives you more credibility. Does your team know how you take your coffee? Do you know how your team members take their coffee?
Innovation is sparked when people from across disciplines and different perspectives chase the same goal. Proximity of the people from different perspectives and disciplines is the basis of innovation. If people with different perspectives and from different disciplines are afar off, so will innovation.
When leaders step into the trenches they do so with fresh eyes. Thus you are able to identify new opportunities and ways for greater efficiency.
Anything that goes wrong under your watch is your failure. Leaders are as responsible for success as much as failure. Don’t micromanage but don’t be so removed that you have no idea what is happening with teams in your enterprise. That is weak leadership.
Give responsibility and do check in with teams.
When you make a habit of checking in with your teams in their environment and not just meetings, people will be more relaxed, natural and open. They will share more than they would in general meetings.
Leaders should spend time time in the trenches with technical teams. This doesn’t have to be all the time. Create time, every now and then to do so. You and your team will be better for it.
If you’re technical, what do you appreciate about your leader spending time in your world? If you’re a leader what stops you from spending time with technical teams?