One of the most frustrating things that I experience in my process improvement work is when team progress stalls. There may be a lot of activity, but no real results. This can happen in many different ways.
Team members waste all their time arguing about what to do first. We have endless discussions about improvement ideas that never turn into action. Often, these discussions devolve into general gripe sessions with no real purpose.
On the other end of the spectrum, teams can find themselves with no clear ideas for improvement. We don’t make any progress because we don’t know what to work on.
There is one question that I have found to be extremely helpful in all of these situations.
I often have coaching conversations with individuals seeking to become better leaders. Most of the time, these conversations focus on the skills they need to develop to be successful. Common skills that people ask about include effective communication, decision-making, strategy, time management, and other more job-specific skills.
The leadership skills that I recommend individuals focus on vary based on the situation. After having many of these conversations, I began to ask myself a more general question.
What one skill should all leaders learn to be more effective?