Here’s the deal Leader- we get it. Imagine my best Bill Clinton impression when I say, I feel your pain. Those daily struggles you’re feeling are not unique to you. I promise! So why is it that so many leaders experience the same recurring issues with their teams? Unfortunately, leading is often hijacked by daily struggles and recurring issues with your team, not your work. It’s frustrating and exhausting, and it diminishes productivity. Don’t worry! We’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve and we’re ready to share.
Look, we’ve been there, done that, and been there again. My first piece of advice is; don’t go at it alone. Get a partner who can help you build a foundation of clarity, purpose, accountability, and choice. Let me break it down. The clarity part is up to you my friend. Of course TPR can help, but what I mean by that is; you have to be crystal clear about what you expect. You might think you have this part in the bag, but based on what we’ve seen over and over, you might unintentionally be setting your team members up for failure. Ask yourself, just how clear are my expectations? How much do I assume my team members “just know”? If you’re relying on job descriptions, general HR policies and procedures, and daily job processes for clarity, you need to think again.
You’ve got to get down to the basics. I’m talking basic, basics. At TPR, we recommend starting by defining your working relationship. Yes, it will take a bit of time, but probably not as much as you think, and the time you’ll save in the long run far outweighs your initial investment. For example, have a conversation with each person on your team about communication preferences. How do you prefer to receive communication, and how does your team member prefer to receive it? For instance, as a leader, you might say something like “I take pride in being approachable, however, rather than stop me in the hall to discuss something work related, please email me with the subject line “meet” along with a few bullet points. “That way I can reserve time so you have my undivided attention.” On the flip side, an example of allowing the team member to tell you their communication preference might be to ask, “How do you prefer to be recognized?” These are just a few examples of how we help our clients develop detailed, customized dialogue to define the leader/team member working relationship.
Let’s move on to purpose. Does every member of your team understand their individual purpose within the organization? At TPR, purpose does not mean job duties. Purpose means aligning daily work with organizational strategy. If those on your team don’t see the connection between every aspect of their job and the organizational strategy, you have a gap. It’s up to you to connect the dots for them to the point of where they could explain it themselves to anyone who asked. Knowing and understanding this connection creates ownership and value to the individual. We talk a lot with leaders about how to connect the individual to strategy. Doing so awakens a sense of pride that contributes to a culture in numerous ways, including the bottom line.
Finally, let’s talk accountability and choice. You might be surprised that the two actually go together. Let me explain. If you give members of your team clear expectations and a sense of purpose, you have created the first half of accountability. Your team now knows exactly what you expect of them and how important their work is to organizational success. This foundation makes it much easier for you to discuss gaps in expectations with them when they arise. Simply remind them of the expectation, describe the gap. From there it’s the team member’s choice how they move forward. Letting your team members decide their next move is liberating for you, and respectful to your team.
Simple strategies like these can help you start building the foundation for a happy, productive team, and a more satisfying leadership experience for you. If you have questions or are interested in partnering with us for a customized plan, contact us. We’re here to help.
Your employees will thank you!