The manager in the workshop seemed upset that her team wasn’t receiving the message she was sending out during a team meeting.
“Listen everyone. We need to be on a call late tonight to get the information from our colleagues in Asia. Without their input, we cannot finish our report which is due at the end of the week.”
The time for the call came and only the manager was on the line. No one else showed up. Once again she was all alone picking up the information. She shared her frustration with the rest of the participants in the program:
“I can’t figure it out. Why was I the only one that was on the call? Where was everyone else?”
Something did not add up and we all decided to help her identify why she might be facing these challenges with her team. Why was she not being heard?
Here are four reasons why we are not being heard:
1. OUR MESSAGE LACKS URGENCY AND CLARITY
The first thing that the other participants shared with the manager was that her initial message didn’t seem all that important or critical. It also omitted why the data from the call was so necessary for the final report.
- Messages that show purpose and details are more impactful
- Sharing specifics about a timeline can spur others to act
- Choosing words that are clear, direct and simple are more easily heard
- Showing appreciation for staying up late and participating goes a far way
2. NO ONE FEELS ACCOUNTABLE
The initial message did little to empower the team members to feel accountable. When directions are spouted out without explaining how each person’s contributions impact the completion of a project, no one often steps up. To cultivate accountability leaders help their teams understand the value they each bring and without everyone participating, the end result will not be as rich.
3. WE ALWAYS PICK UP THE PIECES
What was very obvious here was that the manager allowed herself to continually finish the projects if her team fell short. This happens often and team leaders can get into very dangerous habits and patterns of being “the completer”. A great solution for this is empowering team members not to pass along their work until it is totally finished. Coaching our teams to show up, be focused and honor their commitments is the sign of great leadership.
4. THERE IS A LOW LEVEL OF TRUST
Teams without trust have no foundation to support one another. The manager seemed to have a lack of trust with her team hearing her messages. Her words were not taken seriously or with any concern. To cultivate meaningful relationships and build trust, leaders:
- Get to know their team members’ interests
- Understand why a late night call may be very difficult for some of their team members due to family issues
- Follow through on what they say they will do
- Create a rotational schedule for late night calls so everyone has a turn and the burden doesn’t fall on any one person
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