Every team has an abundance of energy ready to invest in positive ways. Unfortunately it is often stifled as a result of team members not knowing where and how they can play, and what they can be doing to help elevate the team and themselves.
How can you optimise this? Well, it’s not as complicated as you may think, and it only involves a couple of simple steps:
Ensure everyone is on the same page as to why we are here. Not having a singular and well understood 'reason for being' is one of the most common errors made by companies and their management teams. I have often asked leadership groups what their mandate is only to get a variety of responses (that are usually reflective of the two or three different clashing or confused cultures displayed by the workforce). Understanding our 'reason for being' is critical; without this we are collectively headed down a road to nowhere.
Articulate where we are headed (the plan, vision, mission etc) Your team need to know the direction within which to invest their creative and productive energies. If this doesn’t exist then you have a perfectly good excuse to sit down with your team and work this out. Create a vision for where you'd like to be and the plan for getting there; and be sure to ensure you have started with the 'why'. If there are any boundaries, let the team know so that they know how far they can stray with their creativity and investment of energy towards the common goal.
Everyone knows what they need to do (role clarity). We may know why we are here and where we are headed, but if the team doesn’t know how their individual roles are expected to contribute, then creativity will be replaced with confusion over who is responsible for what. The results of this is something we often see; either team members defending their patch and protecting their boundaries rather than collaborating and working together; or the opposite when we see team members over compensating and getting involved with everything and anything simply because how roles are expected to contribute collaborate isn’t clear.
If we know why we are here, what we are here to do, and how we are expected to contribute then the scene is set for a motivated and engaged team. More importantly, as a leader, you become an enabler, rather than a blocker to team success.
Author: David Morley
David is a developer of global-minded leaders, teams and organisations.