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How to get the best work out of your team

“Well this is garbage, we’ll have to start this over from the beginning…”

When I heard my client, Trish, say that to one of her team members my heart sank. I immediately looked at the designer’s face and saw that she was barely holding back tears. 

Trish was trying to be helpful. She didn’t see anything that she could rescue and the design needed to go to the client in the morning. So she was doing what she had done a million times; starting the project over from the beginning. 

This is another major shift that business owners have to make in order to scale past $1M and reach for $2.5M, you have shift from being the expert to being curious.

Let’s replay that scene again.

What if Trish had come in to review her team’s work and instead of judging it, she started asking questions? 

  • Tell me about what you were thinking here?
  • Why did you make that choice?
  • How do you feel like the client is going to see this?
  • How well does this reflect the brief you were given?

These questions give her designers a chance to explain themselves — maybe there’s something there she didn’t see or something she hadn’t thought of. 

Or, if they can’t explain themselves, they start to learn how to critique their own work. They get smarter and build their expertise.

Her curiosity builds her team up and gives them a chance to be the experts. Her judgment tore her team down and protected her position as the expert.

How do you respond in similar situations? What would it take to make that switch for yourself?

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