If every decision has to pass through the leader for approval, the team might just decide to pull over and take a break. After all, by insisting on being at the center of things, you’ve essentially told them it’s not their problem to solve.
But even though it might be the leader’s job to keep the team moving, that doesn’t mean the group doesn’t need a brakeman.
In an interview with Adam Bryant of the NY Times, Pedro J. Pizarro, C.E.O. of Edison International, a public utilities holding company, talks about the importance of having someone on the team who is will challenge the team’s assumptions, to slow things down when the direction feels a bit wobbly. As Pizarro says:
“With the first group I managed, I had somebody who was very different from the rest of us. Once we reached a conclusion, we would move on, but this one person on the team tended to the leave the question open longer….
And even though we felt he was a pain, he made us look at the question again. It was a great lesson about diversity of viewpoints. We all had to adapt to each other.”
The leader empowers each member of the team, each “spoke” of the wheel has a part to play.
That includes the one who offers that indispensable form of wisdom that comes as a dissenting voice.