How would it be if you always felt exceedingly proud of your team—proud because you absolutely knew that every team member constantly focused on the team’s shared goals—and therefore maximised the contribution the team made 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 I waste way too much of my time 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/regional hat’ over top of your team hat?”
By having their team hat on all the time, the team member can take their functional/regional hat on and off, as they see fit, depending on whether the issue on the table is a team issue, or primarily a functional/regional 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) their 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 goals and outcomes.
Imagine how it would be if a member of a foot-ball team didn’t wear a team hat—well jumper actually?
Your Leadership Call to Action
The intent 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—to always take a team approach.
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 determine 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, each individual team member, in your team perform effectively.Now could be a good time to get clarity on what your team needs to do differently to lift its performance and access the sizeable leverage that teamwork brings.
If you’d benefit by having 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 (including those who previously struggled to confront the difficult, let alone persuasively deal with the it) flourish—and become confident, courageous and impressively influential.
Carolyn is authentic and results-oriented. She draws on an eclectic array of approaches, tools and techniques to suit the situation.