How would it be if you always felt exceedingly proud of your team—proud because you absolutely knew that they steadfastly focused on their shared purpose, and therefore maximised their contribution to productivity and profits?
In my work I get to see lots of teams in action. Some of them hum along really well. They’re the ones that produce impressive results. And some of them stumble and don’t produce nearly as much as they could. Why?
Frequently I hear frustrated leaders say things like, “My team’s not working together. There’s always some issue that pops up between someone or other—essentially because they’re pulling in different directions. As a result way too much of my time is spent attempting to resolve stuff that shouldn’t have cropped up in the first place.”
Sound familiar? Let’s stand back for a minute and look at the bigger picture of what might be stopping your team from humming…
What Hats are Your Team Members Wearing?
So often I feel like a broken record when I’m talking to teams…
“What would happen if you put a ‘team hat’ on—and pulled it right down to your ears, and then put your ‘functional hat’ over top of your team hat?”
Then I set about explaining that, by doing that their team hat will be on all the time, and they can take their functional hat on and off, as they see fit, depending on whether the issue on the table is a team issue, or primarily a functional one. The important thing is that they never ever take their team hat off. Why am I beating this drum so often?
We know that when people in teams behave in a manner that’s consistent with the team’s good (aka wear a team hat) the team produces better results—much better results than when each person in the team’s working in their own silo, on their own functional objectives, without giving much attention to the team’s outcomes.
Imagine how it would be if a member of a sporting team didn’t wear a team hat—well jumper actually?
Your Leadership Call to Action
The goal is to have your team members, 100% of the time, behave in a manner consistent with the team good, to never over promote the needs of their own functional or regional area, and to always take a team approach, rather than operating from the perspective of their own particular section of the organization.
How are you going to achieve this?
- First, by more closely observing your team discussions through the lens of the “team hat”. This will give you an acute sense of how often each hat is being worn. Let’s say you conclude that your team isn’t wearing their team hat nearly often enough. What then?
- If you’re like many leaders, up to this point you’ve put most of your focus on having each person in your team perform effectively. But why put up with anything second best when it comes to the productivity of your team? Now’s probably a good time to get clarity on which “bits” your team needs to do differently to lift its performance.If you’d like more distinctions on where your team is closely aligned with a very-high-performing-team, and where it’s no so well aligned, I have a “team magnifying glass”.
It’s hugely effective in diagnosing a team’s strengths and development opportunities, and suggesting remedial actions. Let me know if you’d like to know more about the magnifying glass.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Carolyn Stevens has worked with leaders for more than 25-years—hundreds of them.
She’s supported leader after leader to flourish and become confident, courageous and impressively influential (including those who previously struggled to confront the difficult, let alone persuasively deal with the it).
Carolyn is authentic and results-oriented. She’ll draw on an eclectic array of approaches, tools and techniques to suit your situation.
She’s never too busy to talk to you—or to leaders you refer who’re in a hurry to boost their success. Please email to arrange a time to chat: email@example.com