I’m not sure if it was the subliminal messaging from watching Frozen continuously with my kid or my own good sense. I’m going with the wisdom of Elsa. Being a good team member means you have to Let it Go, let it Go. Let go of your own ideas. Let go of your biases. Let go of controlling the situation. Let go of either-or solutions. Let go of steamrolling.
It took me a long time to learn this. Earlier in my career I was a slave to tight agendas, detailed project plans, measurable everything and neatly drawn roles and responsibilities. This was an overcorrection from being on completely aimless teams. Order is better than chaos but too much order kills all the joy and creativity. When all the work is expected to fit into Excel, the end result will be mediocre.
Teams are like jazz.
You need to know the basic scales and be able to follow the music on the page. But the real magic happens when the musicians riff and improvise, giving the song greater dimension and responsiveness to each other. Team members need to be willing to let it go and let it rip.
Great debates, innovation and creative problem solving require teams to have some structure and lots of flexibility. This can be tough for team leaders to do. There is a tendency to micro-manage. Learning to relax and to trust the process takes practice.
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