Here’s the scenario: You’re in a senior leadership role with 10 direct lines managing a further 100 employees. Recent feedback has indicated a high percentage of dissatisfaction and a sense of disjointed working which maybe affecting delivery and resulting in new opportunities going a miss.
How do you draw teams together to mitigate dissatisfaction and grasp new opportunity?
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”-George Bernard Shaw
So, be prepared to be unreasonable and disrupt the norm because if you apply the same tact as previous years then guess what – you will get the same result next year and all of a sudden there’s a culture of – “so what – who cares”.
Simply, ask questions and dig under the bonnet. There isn’t a need to know the technicalities – the teams have that in hand. Help them safely express themselves and critique how things are done.
Provide them the opportunity and the safety to be honest. Create or use the very best environment to step-away and think-away from the norm; the settings, the surrounding, the systems and the ‘unreasonable person’ if best suited.
Lead by example, rubber stamp the need for change, be accountable and make it happen. Nothing will change, if you change nothing.
Ask questions of your leadership style;
- What do you need to start doing?
- What do you need to stop doing?
- What needs to stay the same?
Go further and ask your 10 direct lines the same questions – about you. Then put a strategy in place to make improvements in the way you lead, in the newly created culture. There may be some quick wins and other changes which may take some real effort, thought and drive to achieve, seek a coach, an accountability partner or mentor… whatever it takes.
Enthuse your 10 direct lines:
Get them in a room and get them talking. But make a point of it. Make it clear this time is golden. Make a point that it is their single priority for whatever period is decided (hrs, sessions, days etc) and they are creating a new future.
Remove all distraction; no laptops, no mobiles, no random knocks at the door, remove status, quieten some and give others the loud speaker.
Have some structure; be alert to people’s engagement and levels of interest. Read the room, read the people and read the tone, be adaptable, encourage the best outcomes and be good at resolving conflict before the room is emptied.
Ask questions. Do not provide the answers. Draw out their imagination, innovation and honest beliefs on how change can be brought about.
Encouraged the 100:
They will know the answers you need. When working in covert operations various technical ‘tools’ could be deployed to provide solutions to problems, at significant monetary value. Do you know what the best ‘tool’ was?
Someone, somewhere always knew EXACTLY what was needed to resolve a problem and deliver a successful outcome….and more. All that was required, was finding them, engaging them with integrity and encouraging them to identify what they already knew, to be innovative and to be courageous. It’s the same within business.
Don’t overlook yourself. Don’t overlook people.