Transcending Team Troubles
All teams run into roadblocks, challenges, and difficult times. This includes business, sports, martial, family and any other type of team. In business, difficulties can crop up due to outside influences such as a down economy, changes within the organization, either planned or unplanned, poor sales forecast, poor communication, and a myriad of other reasons. Failure to address these challenges quickly can lead to poor morale, quibbling, low productivity, expensive turnover, and a lack of trust. The question becomes, should the leader step in?
A visionary leader can often prevent or at the least, lessen the impact by being sensitive to what the future holds. There is no crystal ball needed, but more often than not, there are red flags everywhere. There are other ways to help “predict” the future. Trusted advisors may have opinions or ideas that can trigger further investigation. Financial and business programs may hint at what seems to be coming down the pike. Some leaders take the attitude that every team member is responsible for his or her own emotions, reactions, and thought processes. While this is true, a hands off or laissez-faire attitude may not be the best in such situations. What tools can a leader utilize to keep his or her team from falling apart, lesson the negative impact of a looming crisis, and even find opportunities?
- Act Quickly – When low morale, attitude changes, and dissention is observed, move in quickly to dispel the atmosphere. People may be afraid of job loss, business failure, and personal crisis. Heading them off at the pass so to speak will save hundreds of hours in lost productivity.
- Communicate – One CEO suggests that when you think your communication levels are high enough, communicate some more. You can throw a pot luck dinner, hold town hall style meetings, meet one-on-one, post an honest, sincere video on your intranet, or try writing in the company newsletter. Remember, material that fits shareholders and the Board can also be rewritten so that your team and employees understand and maybe even appreciate what is happening and contribute meaningful ideas and even solutions.
- Control Your Emotions – Leaders, too can have doubts, fears, take things personally, have anger, and despair. However, these are the times when your team needs you to be in control, stoic, and have it together. This is true even if they don’t expect you to have all the answers…and you won’t and you need to be honest about that. Let them know that you have faith in them that together you will figure it out. To help you stay stoic, keep in close touch with your own support team.
- Solicit Feedback – You hired your team because you thought they could bring something to the table. Has that changed? If it has, why are they still working for you? If it hasn’t then let them help you come up with solutions. This is teambuilding at its best – working together in the trenches to save the organization and jobs.
- Defeat Negativity – Allowing people to wallow in the past spreads like a wild fire and brings down morale quicker than a falling 150 foot pine tree. Negativity must be nipped in the bud. That is not to say that you should adapt a “Pollyanna” attitude. Rather, the goal is to take your team beyond the crisis and move them as rapidly as possible into the future.
- See Opportunity – This is the “every cloud has a silver lining” theory. Looking for advantages of the changes and existing or future opportunities the crisis might hold can be a magic elixir to move your team forward. When a crisis occurs, business is just being conducted differently. “Different” is a lot easier to digest mentally than becoming mired down in hand wringing and a “woe is me” attitude.
None of these ideas are rocket science or revolutionary. However, they are often the most neglected and easily forgotten in the throes of a dilemma. Remember them and you and your team can transcend any team troubles together.
Graphic Credit: Big Stock.com