Five Responses to a Situation, Problem or Task

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Five Responses to a Situation, Problem or Task

Fingers showing numbers from one to five

As part of The Gettysburg Leadership Experience, executives explore how leaders set expectations for team members. A senior leader shared this simple framework he uses to give general guidance and to start an on-going conversation about development.

  1. Act
  2. Act & Report
  3. Recommend
  4. Ask What to Do
  5. Wait to be Told

Act:  Within your defined set of responsibilities. You recognize the situation and know the solution.  Take care of it.

Act & Report:  Also within your defined set of responsibilities, but a little bigger with broader impacts.  Take care of it AND tell me about it.

Recommend:  Approaching or exceeding your defined limits of responsibility, but you have a solution.  Make a recommendation to me and get my buy-in.

Ask What to Do:  You know there’s a situation that needs a remedy, but neither your experience nor your research delivers a solution.  You describe the situation to me and we have a discussion on possible solutions, during which I’ll ask a lot of questions. Sometimes you’ll decide, sometimes we’ll make a joint decision.  You execute.  As a result, you gain experience in this particular situation, and reach a higher plane of development.

Wait to be Told:  You don’t even recognize there’s a problem. I point out the problem, we work together to develop the solution. You gain experience and develop as a leader.  If you recognize a problem but wait to be told what to do because you are afraid to speak up, then your most pressing need is a new level of moral courage. This deficit of courage is not admirable and not sustainable. Address it (you can ask for help) or move on to another opportunity.