Tips for Liquid Team #3 — Ask “What do you need from me?”

Every week I’m sharing tips for building stronger ad-hoc teams, and this week it’s a very simple question. “What do you need from me?”.

Matthew Knight
2 min readJun 4, 2019
Photo by Lukas Juhas on Unsplash

There’s a simple but powerful question: “What do you need from me?”

It goes both ways, a team leader asking it of their people, and the team asking it over their team leader.

But be prepared for the answer ‘I don’t know’ — as it can be incredibly hard in fast paced environments, or at the start of a project, to know what is support is needed.

Therefore, don’t stop asking — put regular breaks in the project to ask. Perhaps this is in your daily standup. Perhaps this is in a weekly retrospective.

Even if you’re not running agile processes, it’s not hard to put a regular session in the diary. Or just walk around the team and ask, and then be prepared to coach them through answering. What’s holding you back? Is there any lack of clarity? Is there anything outside of this project weighing on you?

Our job as team leaders is to provide direction, and remove things helping people get there.

So ask, “What do you need from me?” and sometimes, just asking and listening is all that is required.

(ps. there’s also a big difference between what someone needs and what someone wants. but that’s a different tip).

We’re building a set of resources for building stronger ad-hoc teams, fit for the future of working. Drop me a comment below on how you build stronger teams, or if you’d like me to come and share the rest of our tips with you.



Matthew Knight

Chief Freelance Officer. Strategist. Supporting the mental health of the self-employed. Building teams which work better.