Is it possible for you to lead your team to amazing levels of production?
Can you get that done without grinding them into a fine powder?
The big question is: how?
How can I get my team to crush their goals without crushing themselves?
Unmercifully squeezing as much as possible out of team members until they burn out doesn’t work. Neither do manipulation or coercion. Bullying your team? That’s a bad idea too. It’s abusive, unhealthy, and eventually blows up in your face. Talented, self-respecting people won’t tolerate a bullying leader for very long.
Getting more from your team isn’t necessarily a function of how many hours they work. Great effort should be encouraged of course. But getting the right outcomes is more important than the number of hours worked.
So how do we get there? It’s less complicated than you imagine.
Helping your team crush goals and stay healthy at the same time is possible when you help your team answer four key questions about their work. Here they are:
Question 1: Why?
When my boys were toddlers, they would ask me “why?” about everything. They possessed an inherent desire to connect the dots between what I asked them to do and its meaning.
So it is with your team members. Except as adults, team members tend to ask “why?” under their breath. “Why do I get up early every morning to come to work?” “Does what I do every day matter?” The “why” question has to do with vision.
A well-thought out vision answers the questions: “Why are we here?” “Why do we do what we do?” A clear picture of a desirable future helps your team achieve better results. Horst Schulz, one of the founding members of the Ritz-Carlton hotel chain, says the key to their sustained success is that every employee in the organization—no matter at what level they serve—knows why they do what they do—and why it matters. They understand how their daily efforts contribute to the big picture.
Casting a mouthwatering vision for the team you lead may be your most important leadership role. It taps something deep within your associates that motivates them to roll up their sleeves and work. Helping them connect the dots of their daily work to that vision releases amazing amounts of energy through your team. Teams that crush goals know the answer to why.
Question 2: What?
Ever wonder: “What are the reasons my team isn’t getting more done?”
Laziness? Perhaps. Lack of skill? Maybe. Attitude issues? Could be. But I wonder if low production has another source: a lack of clarity. Clarity is king in highly-achieving organizations.
It’s easy to assume your team knows what you want from them . . . often times they don’t. Here are some “what” questions you need to answer for them: What is their specific role? What outcomes do you expect of them? What happens when they achieve said outcomes and what happens when they don’t?
Don’t assume your team knows what you want—work collaboratively on setting outcomes, writing them down, and ensuring each team member clearly understands. Then hold them to it. I’m 100% in favor of accountability flavored with love and kindness. You can hold your team accountable without being a jerk. But you can’t hold them accountable for unclear outcomes. A productive team member is certain about what. This second question proves troublesome for a good number of leaders. Converge Coaching mentors can help you and your team answer the “what” question.
Question 3: How?
A college degree doesn’t guarantee your team member knows how to execute his or her role. The world is changing so fast, often the best learning happens on the job. Continuous learning/improvement are not luxuries, they’re essentials. You’ll get more from your team by making room for their professional development.
You, their leader, will provide some of the training, Other organizations will provide other parts of the training. Funding opportunities for ongoing education helps your team stay fresh. Learning from other leaders who do what they do will pay off. If you want more from your team without crushing them, they need development. A productive teammate knows the answer to how.
Question 4: When?
Your staff needs you to work collaboratively with them to stamp reasonable due dates on their assignments. I don’t understand why we allow team members to get away with missing deadlines. Leader, if you struggle with this, do some soul-searching. What’s preventing you from planting a stake in the ground when it comes to agreed-upon timelines?
It’s not in your best interest, nor in the organization’s best interest, to allow your team to get away with letting projects and outcomes slide. It’s not even in the team members’ best interests. When due dates mean nothing, everybody in your organization loses.
Here’s a simple hack for this fourth question: After every staff meeting, do a quick review of who owns what, and confirm when it’s due. This five-minute exercise will increase your team’s productivity immensely. The most impactful players on your team have a healthy sense of urgency relative to when.
You may be thinking: “Helping my team crush goals without it crushing them sounds like a lot of work.” Right on bro. Who ever said leading a team was easy? It demands you answer why—what—how—and when—on a regular basis. The better you get at answering those four questions, the more you’ll get out of your team. And the less likely they’ll get crushed in the process.
I’m rooting and praying for you!