I ran into a former volunteer a while back as I was enjoying some coffee and personal time with my Moleskin notebook. When I saw this person they didn't see me. My first thought was to let them go by but then I felt the guilt of being an extravert and so I said something (Don't you look at me like that introverts!). The conversation went from cordial to inquiring details within a few minutes. Of course the topic of conversation eventually became about the organization. Prior team members. New opportunities. Etc... But then it happened. I was reminded of why this person was once a team member and is no longer.
These words were spoken to me, "You know what YOU should do..."
Like fingernails across a chalkboard. For you millennials, like a PC (If you don't get that you're probably not a millennial).
I was sitting there lost hoping a person would find me and tell me what to do. Advice like that is the only reason I keep a Moleskin notebook so I can make sure to write down marching orders.
Absolutely irritating! As an organizational leader the effort required to get movement can be grueling work with lots of failures. I'm looking for partners. Not professional advice givers. I'm looking for co-laborers. Not back seat drivers.
If you want a leader to hear you approach them this way.
1. See opportunities - Every leader wants to take advantage of opportunities. Expressing an opportunity through words like "We" instead of "You" could be the best presentation of an idea. "I think we have this opportunity in front of us."
2. Have a role - If it's such a great idea what are you doing!? Are you not excited about this too? If this is a great opportunity than what role are you going to take on to help the team get there? If you want a leader to hear you, have a role in the idea or opportunity.
3. Save the drama for your momma - I can't do it all. I can't be everything. When you bring one more thing to the "do everything party" than nothing will get done. So don't make it dramatic! To date, the sun has come up every morning. Leaders want team members who have a spirit of, "We missed that one, let's get the next one." Instead of, "That's it. You didn't listen to what I wanted you to do. I'm taking my toys and going home." And all the people said, "Amen."
My encouragement for you midweek is to not be one of these people. Don't go around telling people what they should do. Instead, get involved. Better yet, take permission and do what the team needs. The worst thing that could happen is that the opportunity passes and we all move on to the next one.