I’ve sat in traffic jams caused by something blocking a lane, that could be moved easily. Everyone is going around the problem, and no one stops to help get rid of the problem.

This situation is known as the Principle of the missing hero. When a problem is obvious, and no-one stops to resolve it. Instead everyone puts effort into going around the problem.

If you notice this principle at work in your team, look for the conditions that have them not resolving problems. It might be the pressure they feel because of a deadline you gave them, or that following the process is more important than solving problems.

Whatever the reason, start by demonstrating what it means to take responsibility for problems. Then, inspire them to do the same.

You’ve got this.

Credit to: Christopher Avery for teaching me the principle of the missing hero.

Building Great Teams

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