It’s the time of year when people start to get weary and a time when teams will benefit from some reflection and planning.
There are many things you can do to powerfully impact your team, but these are my top three tips for things you can do today to refresh and focus your people:
- Clarify the purpose of your team
- Clarify the expectations of the team (members)
- Make an honest assessment of the team
Clarify the purpose of your team
Sound simple? Most managers would probably expect that everyone in their team is clear on their teams’ purpose; however, if you asked the question of your team members today would they provide you with a consistent answer?
The starting point for a great team is recognising their purpose for existing, and ensuring that everyone is on the same page and can both agree with and more importantly, take ownership of the purpose. The statement of purpose for existing as a team doesn’t need to be complex or wordy, in fact, the teams who do this effectively will generally be able to come up with a single sentence that captures the essence of why they exist as a team.
Clarify the expectations of the team (members)
One of the most common mistakes a manager can make is to assume that team members understand what is expected of them. In some organisations, a formal performance review can be the only time that an employee is given some feedback on how they are going in terms of meeting the expectations of their manager or the broader organisation, when really, it should be something that is addressed from the start and reviewed consistently.
For sales focused staff in particular, it’s easy to assume that meeting a sales budget and/or a range of key performance indicators (KPIs) will be the key to the team member meeting expectations, however, to give someone a position description and a sales target, push them out the door and wish them luck is not an effective way to manage. Have a conversation, and clarify expectations BOTH WAYS. Can you be sure that your team member is truly clear on what you expect from them if you don’t have the conversation? Just as importantly, how will you know what your team member expects from you as a manager?
This is equally important from a team perspective. What do we expect from each other in terms of how we operate as a team? Is it OK for me to do my own thing and meet my sales target without considering my impact on the team? Clarifying our expectations of each other up front can be a very effective way to drive performance, whilst also providing a platform for better professional relationships.
Make an honest assessment of the team
Ask your team the following question, and whiteboard the responses:
“What words would the rest of the organisation use to describe our team?”
You can then take it to the next level and record the responses to:
“What words would we want the rest of the organisation to use when describing our team?”
If there are some gaps between the first list and the second list, you have just taken the first step in identifying how the team can improve. The key to this assessment is to then be able to identify the reasons for the differences, and most importantly, the behaviours that underpin them. The process of understanding which behaviours should be displayed and which behaviours cannot be tolerated by the team will allow a team to effectively bring the values of the organisation to life in a meaningful and practical manner.