How Well Do You Know Your Team?
Many directors and managers I speak to think that they know their team very well. They know their spouse’s name and how many children they have and their names.
“I say good morning to everyone.” Is a typical response to this question. Is this knowing someone? Or is this knowing someone within the constraints of work, leaving to one side other personal issues?
There is a difference between knowing someone at a shallow “good morning” level and knowing someone well enough that you would be there for them at a time of need and a person you could rely on to be there for you.
Leadership is about inspiring loyalty and teamwork and we start by building effective communication in such a way that people will respond positively when the chips are down, or when performance needs to be raised.
Communication works at several levels:
From: “Hello, how are you?” (No information traded)
To: “How are Mary and the kids?” (Low-level information given)
To: “What’s up? You seem down today, like me.” (High-level feelings shared)
We tend to operate at low-level most of the time because that is safe and usually that is the requirement of most tasks. However, that is not where we should operate all the time. There are times when we should share how we feel, good and bad.
Sharing how we feel with our team shows people that we really care and that there is something important about the work that requires passion, commitment and dedication. You don’t get that from a mechanical, policy-driven work ethic. You get it from people who are committed to the team and its’ purpose.
It may not look pretty when you do share how you feel, but it works. My mum once said to me, “Son, you look smart, but remember to show the man behind the suit.”
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