by Jeanet Wade, the ForbesBooks author of “The Human Team: So, You Created A Team But People Showed Up!“
As the nation works its way out of the pandemic and associated economic troubles, some business leaders may fret about their company’s strength going forward.
Perhaps it’s time for those businesses to assess just how well their teams are performing.
It’s always helpful to take an overview of your company, exploring both the strengths and the weaknesses to see where you can do better.
Here’s a hint: Wade says a company’s strengths ultimately come down to its people and how well leaders are able to communicate goals and strategies to them.
Regardless of what industry sector you’re in, business leadership is people leadership. No matter how automated or systematized work becomes, inspiration, innovation, and the highest level of problem-solving requires the highest level of human thinking.
That’s why it’s useful for leaders to ask themselves a few questions about how well their business is doing in relation to their teams. Here’s a more in-depth “team health assessment” online, but a few initial areas to consider in giving your organization a self assessment include:
Does your team have a clearly articulated strategy or plan? People on teams sorely need clarity, or they’ll lapse into confusion. Specifically, team members must understand the purpose of the team itself, their role within it, the team’s outcome goals, and how this team fits within the larger organization.
Many leaders don’t communicate the organization’s larger vision and strategy because they believe employees won’t understand it or will get derailed by the minutiae of revenue projections, profit goals, and the like. But if someone is familiar with strategy and its envisaged implementation, they’ll possess the vision and clarity to guide themselves through obstacles or small misunderstandings that inevitably arise. Even if they don’t understand every task and step along the way, they can trust in the larger purpose and visualize the final outcome.
Does your team participate in regular team building and trust building activities? There are many such exercises on the market that can help team members connect with each other. Wade refers to one activity she likes to use as 3-2-1. People in a group are asked to share three events they’ve experienced, how they responded to them, and how those events impacted them. Then they share two childhood stories or coming-of-age adolescent memories. Finally, they share one of their biggest fears.
Is it evident that each team member is contributing their best version of themselves to the team? As leaders, it’s important for us to acknowledge the human psyche’s need to contribute and reward it. Contribution allows each person to move from withdrawal, or passive contribution, and to level up to the team – a rising tide lifting all boats. That means that everyone expends their maximal effort instead of doing the bare minimum.
Reaction to failure.
Do team leaders embrace failure as a growth and learning opportunity? Make failure and learning from failure something to embrace. Team members shrouded in fear, apprehension, and doubt run from failure. But admitting failure and learning from it helps create a growth mindset – it opens space for trust and courage in teams and organizations, as people know they can learn and improve in a climate of trust.
It’s natural for leaders to fall into the trap of going it alone, but it isn’t necessary or even effective. When you learn to be both compelling and transparent you can truly harness the collective human energy in your business.
Jeanet Wade, the ForbesBooks author of “The Human Team: So, You Created A Team But People Showed Up!” is a Certified EOS® Implementer and the founder of the consulting firm the Business Alchemist. As a facilitator, teacher and coach, Wade helps companies implement the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), a set of business concepts, principles and tools that help business owners and executives run more successful businesses.