This week I came across a note I had made myself late last year and never got posted. Having worked to support team leaders for a number of years, I often get asked, “what are some of the key conversations they are having with their teams right now”? Here are five areas team leaders today may be in conversation around:
#1 - Focus - With so much occurring in the workplace today – flavors of the month, shiny red objects, interruptions, course changes, external events, etc…helping our team members focus on what is important RIGHT NOW, today, can be an important message to keep reinforcing. Helping team members with prioritization skills and being able to continue to focus on what’s important without adding to the interruptions and divergence is also key. If you are operating in a team context, the impact of one team member slipping may have a domino effect. What are the things that are going to help with focus?
#2 - Connection - What are the things you can do to help people feel connected? Connected to others in the team? Connected to the resources they need? The information they need? What is important about this topic right now for the team?
#3 - Disruption and Change - Disruption and change is becoming more commonplace across industries. Global events can have local impact. Disruption in a related industry can have a trickle effect. What are you doing to help people understand how they react to change, and also build capability in the areas of strategic thinking and/or contingency planning? Having worked for many decades in the areas of strategic planning, critical thinking and contingency planning, I often take it for granted that people are using these tools. What’s important to explore and have conversation with your team?
#4 - Building Trust - As Stephen Covey wrote - and I paraphrase – “Trust is the currency of business”. What are you doing to build trust, and erode trust? In today’s fast, and sometimes remote, business context, we may only see people in “small windows” of time. Comments, and reactions, may get magnified. Certain activities or patterns of behaviors might be perceived as the norm. What are you doing to build trust, particularly in terms of creating an environment where people can be heard, and listened to? Where follow through is modeled? Where communication fits the needs of the team? What behaviors are visible?
#5 – What can people on the team do to be able to do their best work? Finally, we know from strengths-based research that when people are able to do their best work and use their strengths, there’s greater productivity, engagement and quality of life. Check out Gallup’s Strengths Center for the latest research on this.
Asking the team what they can do to do their best work, as often as possible can be a great conversation. It may also open up a debate point of “Why can’t I do this all the time?”. While we may not be able to use strengths EVERY DAY and EVERY HOUR on every PROJECT, what can we do to magnify or expand this?
Enjoy the conversations and let us know what you are exploring in your team.
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