Have you checked out the general health of your team lately? Does it seem that team members are dragging and projects aren’t as vibrant as they use to be? Maybe there are more bottlenecks popping up preventing a dynamic flow of information. Are some team members very engaged while others never step up to take on new responsibilities?
In some of my recent leadership workshops leaders shared that they are facing some steep hurdles that are derailing team performance and growth. When we first began to identify what might be causing some of these imbalances, it was easy to just blame others for not caring. But as we delved deeper real issues began to emerge that had less to do with pointing fingers and more to do with missing elements of team success.
Here are seven ways leaders can overcome an imploding team:
1. CONDUCT AN HONEST ASSESSMENT
First things first. Ask yourself and your team members, why the team is not as cohesive as it could be. Try to identify what factors are preventing the team from running as smoothly as it once did. A good way to begin this discussion is to invite the team to a “lunch and share”, explaining that it feels like the right time to catch up and hear how things are going.
2. VISUALIZE WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE
Take out those flip charts and easels and have team members draw out what a high performing team would look like. This is a great exercise in using symbols, pictures, mottos and any shapes to bring out the best in everyone. For example, an image of a bridge connecting different parts of the team may be an indication of the need to be more interconnected. Give it a try!
3. BRAINSTORM POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS WITH THE TEAM
Based on what the assessment turns out and what the visuals look like, begin an old-fashioned brainstorming session of possible solutions.
- Let the ideas flow with no judgment
- Encourage creative strategies
- Listen for the real message
- Stay open-minded and willing to see different perspectives
4. CREATE A CLEAR MAP WITH DIRECTIONS
Using the visuals and the solutions, define a clear path forward for the team. Develop the big picture that will stay in the forefront of every decision and action. Make sure everyone is clear on the choice and has some buy-in.
5. BREAKDOWN INTO MINI STEPS
Things rarely get done without looking at the individual action steps needed to reach any goal. Decide what tasks are critical and who will be responsible for each. Remember that people want to feel valuable so play to their strengths and ask them what they want to focus on.
6. BUILD IN A BACK-UP
Always prepare for an obstacle or a possible change. Although a team may want to follow a certain choice, it may not always work out. That doesn’t mean the team is a failure, it means that the team needs to be agile and willing to pivot. If the team members want more coaching sessions to grow, it may be necessary to conduct them at different times when the workflow is lighter. Just because coaching sessions can’t take place when they were originally planned, doesn’t mean they should be abandoned.
7. PLAN FOR TONS OF FEEDBACK
Whatever road the team chooses to follow, be open to hearing about the good, the bad and the ugly. Be a team that welcomes constructive and honest feedback and willing to act on that important information.
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