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Article authored by Qualigence CEO & founder Steve Lowisz

Most leaders solve too many problems.

I’m serious.

I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true.

If you’re a leader, I know you crave results.

You want to make an impact, solve problems, and drive growth.

The problem is when we step in and solve problems for our teams.

See, it’s a question of OWNERSHIP.

We all want our teams to take ownership of their work.

We want our teams to take ownership of their wins AND their losses.

We want them to go above and beyond. We want them to really care about their work and strive to make the most impact.

But if we’re solving our teams’ problems, we’re actually getting in the way of ownership.

So how should we handle this challenge?

The Bad News: You Can’t MAKE Anyone Take Ownership

Let’s start with the bad news.

You can’t make anyone take ownership.

You can try…but it’s a waste of effort.

You can tie rewards to results or put people on performance improvement plans.

But at the end of the day, it’s up to each individual to take ownership for themselves.

The Good News: You Can Create an Environment That Inspires People to TAKE Ownership

What you CAN do is create an environment that inspires people to take ownership of their work.

As leaders, we often think our job is to give direction and solve problems.

But in reality the most powerful thing we can do is empower our teams to think for themselves and solve their own problems.

Deep down, our teams want to solve their own challenges. They want to develop and implement their own solutions. They want to be the person that makes an impact.

But oftentimes they don’t know how. They’re not used to doing it, or they’re used to a micromanager giving them specific instructions.

So naturally, they come to us for help.

Of course, there are times when we have to course correct or give someone direction.

But most of the time, the best thing we can do is COACH someone through their challenge by asking questions.

Coach Your Team Members to Develop Their Own Solutions

We don’t empower our teams by giving them instructions or telling them how to solve a problem.

We empower them by guiding them to their OWN solutions.

As leaders, we can do this for our teams by asking open-ended questions – questions that can’t be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.”

Ask a team member what’s worked, what’s not worked, and what they’ve already tried to overcome it. Ask them what a good starting point would be. Encourage them to experiment and try something new.

Let them know that it’s okay to fail, and that if they get stuck, they can always come back for suggestions.

But the key is to let them work through their own problems and develop their own solutions.

See, when someone creates their OWN solutions to a problem, they naturally get more invested. We feel a sense of pride in being the person who brainstormed a solution and solved a problem.

And as a result, they start to take ownership of their own work!

Your #1 Job is to Bring Out the Best in Others

As a leader your #1 job is to bring out the best in others.

You can be the person with the best plan, the most experience, the strongest work ethic, blah blah blah…

…but if you’re not focused on bringing out the best in others, your impact will always be limited because you’re just one person.

You are not scalable!

The best leaders recognize their REAL impact is about helping their teams reach their full potential.

They develop leadership in their teams, foster their teams’ growth, and help their teams become more confident.

That’s why it’s so impactful to inspire your teams to take ownership.

When they take ownership, they not only are inspired to deliver greater results, but they start to grow into more confident, more effective, and stronger team members.

You can’t make anyone take ownership. But you can take steps today to inspire teams to take it for themselves.

Which type of leader are you going to be?

If you’re serious about making a maximum impact as a leader, check out Steve’s leadership training courses by clicking the banner below.