One of the hottest topics among business development experts today is “capacity.” It’s a term that describes the bandwidth that you and each team member possess to be productive.
Great leaders know the more capacity the organization has the more potential it has to accomplish its mission. When the organization begins to exceed its capacity for too long things eventually stall. If you want to spur growth you have to increase capacity.
Therefore, one of the best ways a leader can impact an organization is to create capacity so the organization and its people can grow.
Building capacity takes time to do. It can also be challenging because it can show you your own limits. To build capacity on your team, you first need to see and accept what it can and cannot do. You need to choose that in some situations, you will allow things to take more time to allow people to learn.
Here are 5 ways a leader can create capacity:
1. Paint a void
Allow others to see what could be accomplished. Leaders help people see potential in themselves and the future. This can be accomplished through vision casting and question asking. It may be helping people dream bigger dreams of what could be next in their own life or for the organization. It could be through training or development. Extra capacity energizes people to find new and adventuresome ways of achieving them.
2. Empower people
When you give people the tools, resources and power to accomplish the task, you will have created new capacity. Many times people feel they’ve done all they can with what they have. Provide them with new tools – maybe new ideas — assure them they can’t fail if they are doing their best. Continue to support them as needed. Then get out of their way.
When the team faces a new type of problem, guide them around how they want to solve it. It helps the team learn to work together. They know a bit more about what to expect from one another and what will happen next. The idea is to provide them with a container to have their discussion and let them fill in the content.
3. Release ownership
Let go of your attempt to control an outcome so others can lead. Many people hold back waiting for the leader to take initiative or give his or her blessing. The more power and ownership you release the more others will embrace. The more initiative they will take of their own.
When you are trying to build capacity, you may find it useful to make this explicit with the team. Make a clear statement that this is a learning experiment to practice doing something and it may be ugly.
4. Lead people not tasks
If you are always the doer and never the enabler then you are not a leader. More than likely you are simply an obstacle to what the team could accomplish if you got out of the way. Many leaders don’t see this in themselves. Frequently ask yourself: Am I leading or am I in the way? And, if you’re brave enough — ask others to evaluate you – even anonymously.
5. Have a Growth Mindset
According to Dr. Carol Dweck, people tend to embrace one of two mindsets: a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. If we’re not intentional, we drift into a fixed mindset that observes past experiences and says, “I’m just not good at math” or “I just can’t dance.” A growth mindset drops those restrictions, and adds the word, “yet”—“I’m not good at math, yet.” Growth mindsets believe development is possible whatever our age.
When the leader creates capacity the organization and the people in the organization increase their capacity – and things can grow.
Emily LaDrig is the Chief Execution Officer at Excelerate America, the fun, smart services for businesses looking to level up. How do you build capacity for your team and business? Let Emily know by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.