The superficial request ...
Some time ago one of my employees came up to me and said he would like to be a team leader. He was one of my favorite employees and a real specialist, but his abilities to manage people did not match my expectations, because of his far too technocratic perspective. Anyhow, I didn't had any vacant team leader job to offer and there was some risk that he would look for a comparable vacancy outside our company. It would be really bad to loose him. So it was time to raise the "Why?" question to find out more about his real intention. And to be able to find a solution that fits best for the company and for him.

... and its hidden intention
I spontaneously imagined three main reasons for requesting a team lead:
1. Gain more money
Team leader jobs are often related to a higher salary
2. Increase ability to execute
You can boost the implementation of your ideas if you have some fellow workers at your hand
3. Raise personal visibility
More people would recognize you due to your higher social status
(later I have found a tight relation to Maslow's hierarchy of needs with these three bullets)

A Win-Win-Win-Situation
And that's exactly what I spoke about with him. It took only some minutes to get the clear statement that he doesn't want to go stale in some dark corner of the company. So raising the personal visibility was the basic intention of this request. It didn't took to long until I assigned him on a project with direct visibility to the managing directors. They saw his contribution and they were very satisfied with his work. Later on he joined more projects with high visibility, because they've requested him. So in the end not his request for a team lead, but his intention for more visibilit was satisfied. A good solution for the company and the employee.

Always check the intention
The other day a fellow asked me to jointly start a project on some specific topic. After some weeks I wanted to meet him to find out if he would really be focussed on that project and that it would make sense to spend my free time for several months to get things started. But as of trying to find time for an initial meeting it showed that his intention was obviously not the increased ability to execute, which would have been the optimal intention in my view to spend a considerable amount of free time on this project.

So again taking a closer look at ones intention makes always sense if you are interessted in a successful long term cooperation.

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