Do even facilitative, participative leaders need to take command sometimes?
However reluctantly, the answer is yes. But, reluctance is not necessary (or helpful) under the circumstances that require a strong leader to take command. In a crisis, under the duress of a situation hindering collaboration, when there is no time to choose...in the right situation, the leader simply must take command.
We do not rip away the authority and influence of the group and we do not lock ourselves into a pattern of command-and-control as philosophy in the future. Here's what we can do to make sure that our sudden command is accepted, respected, and achieved:
Plant the seed - even in quiet times, even when things are going smoothly and the team can make group decisions, high performance leaders let the team know what types of incidences will cause for command.
Rely on an ally - the best leaders are still not perfect. Build relationships with a few trusted individuals who can be completely honest with you and can hold you accountable. One major, reliable ally may be enough; more is better.
Build your team relationships - when your rapport is strong and the relationships resilient, a nod or glance is all you need to know if you need to defer, take command, or something in-between. Remember, you're not relinquishing control by sharing it, you are strengthening it.
Flex fast and often - the best test of your own skill at managing control is sharing it, baring it, and preparing it for the type of flexibility needed in a rapid change.
Sometimes a leader must let people know when it's time to follow. First, be sure.
-- doug smith