When your team become spectators?

And you end up doing most of the work!

We live near a gorgeous 20km trail and over the weekend my husband and I took our children for a cycle along it. I worried that our four-year-old wouldn?t make the distance but my husband assured me that he?d be fine.

As we set off I recalled a story by Liz Wiseman in The Multiplier Effect. She told of a time when she was racing her son to the bus stop. She won the race (to satisfy her competitive desire) but when she turned around to see where her son was he had stopped running ? he had given up. He saw no point in even trying because she was too far ahead ? there was no point.

I knew that our situation was similar so was very conscious of not going too far ahead. If my son gave up in the middle of the journey it would result in pain and discomfort ? mainly for me and my husband ? who would need to figure out how to get him and his bicycle home.

Liz talks about leaders who are sometimes guilty of getting too far in front of their teams. She calls them Accidental Diminishers, specifically Pacesetters, when they get more than a car length ahead, people begin to disengage ? they don?t race to catch up ? they decide ?I can?t keep up with them?. She says ?we don?t create followers doing this, we tend to create spectators?.

?We don?t create followers doing this, we tend to create spectators? ~ Liz Wiseman


If you create a team of spectators, it?s likely that you will be left doing most of the work. You will disempower and prevent them from reaching their full potential and you?ll struggle to motivate them in the future ? it ends up being a lose-lose situation.

On the flipside, if you empower your team, to run their own race and invest in building their capabilities, then they will do the work for you ? and want to do more. It becomes a win-win situation.

It was this responsibility and focus on their capabilities that helped our boys complete the 20km cycle. Even now, days later, we?re all still feeling an overwhelming sense of pride for what we accomplished as a team ? as a family. It was a memorable win-win situation and we want to do more!

Are you making spectators of your team? Do you believe in a win-win situation? I?d love to hear about your challenges if you?d like to share.


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