What gets in the way of your team operating at their absolute best?
How do you get a truly high performing team?
Over the last fifteen years, my colleague Lois Burton and I have helped teams to grow their performance by focusing on two key areas:
Task – Practical tips, toolkits and checklists that make light work of many aspects of team ‘life’ – CEOs and first time leaders alike have used our toolkits to great effect. (And we’ll share the most popular on this masterclass for you to take away and use with your own team);
People – The deeper work – working on the ‘challenging stuff’ around behaviour, conflict, ‘difficult people’, silo working, candid conversations and all those things that can feel more complex and often scary. (Expect to be challenged, here, as we help you see how you might be ‘getting in your own way’ and give you strategies to take action – particularly on those things that are in the ‘too difficult’ box right now!)
Team leaders at all levels need both task and people focus if they are to be effective.
In my coaching work with leaders and teams one of the things I’m frequently asked to help them with is the ‘important’ conversation.
I’ve written quite considerably on this topic before but this is a new article that contains everything you need to do in one place!
Most commonly this is a conversation about performance (or lack of!), conflict with a colleague (spoken or unspoken) or a request to a boss, colleague or team member that you think might be refused.
Why do we find these conversations so difficult?
In my experience there are three main reasons:
1. You don’t know where to begin or you struggle to find the right words to use;
2. You worry about the potentially strong emotions that the conversation may evoke;
3. You dread conflict and/or you have a strong need to be liked.
We can ALL get better at these conversations if we do four things: MORE >
If 2016 taught us anything, it’s taught us that nothing is predictable.
The boat has been rocked, and it’s going to keep on rocking in 2017. This has a huge impact on everyone who leads and manages leadership teams.
Because ‘same old, same old’ just isn’t going to work anymore.
With so much uncertainty it’s easy to fall into one of these three traps – none of which benefits our businesses:
1. Feel like a rabbit in the headlights and do nothing;
2. Focus on the minutiae and detail that is right in front of our noses (what I call our ‘busy-ness comfort zone’) and avoid trying to look into the future;
3. Make grandiose plans which we’ll probably have to scrap come March.
So how do leaders move into 2017 and steer their own ships given all the noise, upset, ambiguity and unknowns that we’re facing in the immediate future? MORE >
Last week I wrote about the Comfort Zone of Busy-ness.
This week I want to share with you four key things to help you or your teams get out of that same comfort zone. I wrote the article for Strategic HR Review and have permission to share it with you! (The article starts on page 2.)
Enjoy. And I’d love to hear your own tips for getting out of that Comfort Zone of Busy-ness!
We all know that our best learning takes place when we are ‘outside our comfort zone’ – but not so far out that we want to run for the hills. I know my deepest and most long lasting growth has come when I’ve had to confront something I’ve been avoiding or take on a challenge that felt new and scary.
I also know that for me and for many of my clients it’s easy to stay in a ‘comfort zone of busy-ness’. And whilst we say ‘I’d love to be less busy’ or ‘I’d love to have more time for myself/my family’ we just keep on doing ‘stuff’ that we’ve always done. MORE >
Last week I wrote about Rob and the ‘team that won’t change’.
When I first started working with Rob, one phrase kept coming up in my head time and time again. It’s a phrase attributed to Anais Nin as follows:
“We don’t see the world as it is, we see it as we are.”
I love this phrase and it often acts to pull me up short when I am making assumptions from my world view or narrow lens. It reminds me to look at other perspectives, get more curious and less judgemental and remember my empathy button!
Rob was frustrated that despite advising his team over and over again what they needed to do differently, nothing was changing.
He had started to doubt himself and doubt them. He knew that things couldn’t go on as they were and something had to change.
But here’s the thing.
If we want others to change, we have to change first.
So here’s what Rob did next. MORE >
Recently I’ve been working with a Director of Finance (we’ll call him Rob) who has joined a new global business. He’s ‘inherited’ a long-standing team of 12, most of whom have been there for over ten years (one has been there for twenty years).
In his words, they are hard-working, respected in the business and dedicated. But as the business grows he has recognised that they need to work in a different way if they are to (a) support the business going forward in its next phase of growth and (b) have a life outside work!
So how does he know they ‘won’t change’?
He’s told them they need to delegate more and to stop attending meetings that add no value. He’s told them to research new technology with a view to streamlining some of their systems.
‘Yes, yes, yes’ they say – and then nothing changes. Because they are ‘just too busy’.
So what’s really going on here? MORE >
Following my last blog, and my offer of support, I had six emails from various people asking for some advice and guidance for their team.
Claire (I have her permission to share this story with you) is struggling to help some of her team members improve their communication with each other on key projects. So important information is often missed or not shared and the right people are not always being consulted at the right time – and the ‘bigger picture’ can be missed…… MORE >
Two calls this week from clients in very different organisations who have both recently (in the last six months) taken on the leadership of new senior teams.
Call number one: ‘I’ve done a Team Charter with them but it felt a bit forced and I don’t know what to do as they aren’t really getting along’.
Call number two: ‘They need sorting out NOW as they are fighting like cat and dog – their egos are getting in the way of the work that needs to be done.’
Both leaders wanted solutions. Of course they did. They are hurting, frustrated and stuck. This is probably how their teams are feeling too.
A knee-jerk response is not the solution.
A ‘team building event’ is not the solution (at least not immediately).
So what is?
Well that really depends.
My first response is always to find out ‘what is really going on here’? Indeed, the first step of any work we do with senior teams is to have a conversation with each of the team members (and some of their stakeholders) to find out answers to that question FROM EVERYONE’s point of view. If we only hear the leader’s perspective we are missing out on key information.
Because my perspective might look different to your perspective – which is certainly not how he or she sees things!
There are always ‘two sides to every story’. Although with teams it’s more likely that there are seven or eight sides to ‘the story.’
It’s only when everybody has a chance to share their thoughts and feelings that some sense can be made of it all. And recommendations can be made accordingly.
And the first question to ask yourself, as the leader is this;
‘How might I be part of the problem – and the solution’?
Don’t know what questions to ask? Contact me at email@example.com and I’ll give you some ideas to help you make a start.
Recently I wrote an article on what good leaders have in common with good sales people.
Quite a few people got in touch asking me to say more about how a coaching style of leadership can help to develop and build a successful sales team.
You can read my thoughts on this here: