Why it is good to have no clue what to do

When I led my first project team, it felt quite overwhelming. Assigning tasks to my team, talking to the client, keeping my internal stakeholders up to date, managing the scope, keeping track of the numbers … sometimes I didn‘t know what to do first.

On top, the solution for the client didn‘t fall off the shelf but we needed to interview people, ask questions, define deliverables and agree on a way of working to getting to the results. Sometimes I really wished to know everything already. At that time, a lot of the solutioning was created in the evening when I went swimming. Under water I could think. I could create solutions and think through the different options.

Those times where quite challenging. But whenever there was a new idea, we discussed it in the team and decided on the next steps. Once the results worked, it was such a joy working on the tasks. It inspired all of us and we really liked to work together and solve the client‘s problems.

Just recently, I heard a keynote on management and leadership by Seth Godin, who referred to the other option in business. A manager who knows ‚everything’ already. Everything means all the processes that need to be managed to reach the target KPIs. Those people avoid not knowing what to do by all means. There is no creativity but command and execution. In turn, they cut themselves out of the creative solution design process and only rely on commanding actions that keep KPIs on track.

On the other hand, there are leaders. Leaders are part of the solutioning – even in the moment of not knowing everything and taking risks in creating new ideas. They are aware that there is no map for the journey. They rely on an inner compass – which is adjusted by the knowledge and experience from the past as well as vision and creativity for the future.

Back then, I wished that I had a map. Today I know that for cool innovative solutions and blooming teams, there is no map. There is only the inner compass and the need for taking risks in order to lead teams to cool new places that they enjoy.

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