Let the Second Guessing Begin!

One of the biggest challenges that team leaders face (as well as any executive with a boss) is second guessing- which in a company environment can easily devolve into micro managing.

Nick Faldo announced his final Ryder Cup team for Europe on Sunday.  Paul Azinger announced his picks for the final spots on the American Ryder Cup team this morning and the second guessing began at the news conference.  Azinger is the captain and made his choices based on what he values and what he thinks his team will need to deliver.  Is he right?  Only performance on the course will tell.  So what is the impact of the debate which has already begun except to defocus the team.  Doubtless Azinger consulted others before making his choices.  But the point is that they are his to make.  He is accountable for creating a team and holding them accountable for performance.

If you lead a business there is an important parallel here for you.  Choose a team leader you trust for key projects or departments.  Provide them the tools they need and agree on how you will participate in key decisions so that you are clear.  Delegating accountability means that you have ceded authority to them to get it done.  What is served after that by second guessing their decisions, especially publicly?

Fully delegating accountability is one of the toughest things a leader has to do- especially when so much information is available.  Visibility into the detail of a project or team reinforces the tendency to micromanage, even with the best of intentions.  There is a delicate line between sharing the wisdom of your experience and undercutting the ability of a team leader to make decisions and remain accountable.

The good news for Azinger is that he does not have a direct boss to second guess him.  The bad news is that he has a HUGE board of directors.  The press, the public and perhaps even the PGA will second guess his decisions- win or lose.