Based on my decades of experiences as a corporate leader, the last 6 years working closely with over 30 organisations and a couple of 100 leaders as a Mentor, Coach and facilitator, I often come across gaping gaps in the way organisations often lose their way when it comes to unleashing the full power of their teams. And I am not just talking entrepreneurs here but large corporates too.
Sharing 10 tips which I believe mid and senior leaders can do to make a difference
- Making people in your team buy into the vision – In many cases it’s quite likely over half the employees would vaguely recall the vision of the organization shared when they joined or see it on some notice board. The Vision is not meant to be a CEO agenda only. There is an interesting quote “The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet ” Theodore M. Hesburgh. How do you energise a team if they are not clear where the organisation is headed and how its changing lives or improving efficiency or value adding to the cause?
- Building excitement about how each individual can contribute towards achieving the goal – Good leaders challenge, excite and energise their teams, average leaders give directions and expect them to just do their “work “. That’s what they are paid for no? No second guesses for who succeeds more consistently.
- Building a performance culture where every team member knows exactly what the role expectations and performance metrics and measurements are. – So very often, this is a grey area and builds scope for people to take cover when things do wrong and say things like – oh I thought he was to do it! ! I am not clear about my role!! And performance metrics? That’s for Appraisals only once a year no ? Management needs it and HR follows up with team leaders to adhere to the schedule, more than focus on it as a development tool. These are times when process adherence overrides without the benefits being explained to team members.
- Setting very high standards with little leeway for excuses or passing the buck. We all know what does not get measured does not get improved. When the first 3 points get done well and measurements are in place work gets so much more transparent and it’s so much less of an effort to set much higher challenges or targets or task deadlines and reduce the tendency to blame others for all their problems.
- Involving the team in evolving a solution focused approach – a “can do “attitude – How often in a Top down, hierarchical structure do we hear – but boss this is a problem, this cannot happen, we need resources, we need budgets, “ they “ are not supporting us, management is dreaming, let them do it.. (sounds familiar ? ). I find the key is 2 words in this point – Involving the team and solution focused approach. The moment good leaders do these two well the solutions emerge from the deep well of knowledge and experiences of the team members themselves. Then it’s no more a 1 man organization but a larger play of intellect and ideas which generate enthusiasm and energy and solutions to the most complex problems.
- Giving them the Empowerment and Tools to succeed. – Leaders need to be secure enough to be happy to delegate and let go of “perceived power “and authority. This is where I find so many teams stumble since so many weak leaders want to take credit and are worried if their juniors can handle the responsibilities without goofing up or getting the credit for a good job. I used to personally love delegation since that gave the leaders down the line a sense of responsibility, of knowing management is trusting them and will not hang them if they do commit a mistake once or twice! And I preach this day in and day out since I have experienced the power of empowering people. How much it frees up the leadership to take on larger strategic tasks and not get mired in day to day routine decisions and operational issues.
- Committing quality Management time to review, support and coach the teams and be a part of their highs and lows – This is yet another area where Management is often too busy attending so many meetings that they do not have the time to review in detail. More often reviews become personality driven based on likes and dislikes – tougher questions and comments for people one does not like and easier passage for the favourites. Takes away the objectivity of the review exercise which should much rather focus on the fundamentals. At the end the review must lead to decisions and progress and better business results. Else it such a waste of management time as can be seen from the fact that the busiest rooms in most offices are the meeting rooms – tougher to block than seats at a favourite restaurant!!!
- Ensuring consistent HR policies and practices without any perceived favoritism or compromises for select individuals – The key word here is consistency and perceived favoritism. The majority of leaders fall into the trap of surrounding themselves with people who think like them and make them feel like heroes and this does nothing to remove the stain of perceived favoritism. And a boss who is not seen as fair and unbiased has lost half the battle of winning all his troops over. As simple as that!
- Treating all employees with humility and respect and engaging families to make them all proud of being a part of a winning mission. Here is another area which when done genuinely, led by the leader and not just as part of an HR agenda can so closely bind employees and the families who in turn play such a vital role in employees not leaving so easily. A great retention tool, which in turn increases the wealth of experience of the team and belief in the organization which in turn makes it a winning team – something I personally experienced in an organization where we grew up for over 15 years and are still so closely connected with. It creates a bond for life. And finally
- Realising that people work more passionately for their immediate leaders when they feel recognized and wanted. More and more employees work less and less for organisations or brands which may have grand visions and policies but lose the connect and the plot on employee engagement and motivation. It is no wonder that even the largest brands face high attrition levels largely because of the missing personal touch or connect. And recognizing individuals for any stand out performance and rewarding them in public hardly cost the earth but have a positive effect and also bring in a competitive spirit with the teams. After all who does not like a pat on the back during an employee meet or an email from the boss or his boss?
To sum up again Unleashing the “power” of your teams to re energise your organization in my opinion is all about these 10 main points being implemented and in turn which form the backbone of the culture of the organization.
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