If you and your team are like most teams out there you have been running at full speed all year doing your best to tackle challenges that come your way and meet your team and organizational goals. Whatever your goals for 2017, your team can’t reach them if it is running on empty. When we coach teams that are producing less than they are capable of we find that the absence of the following Team Energizers are what has most often depleted them. Ensure these Energizers become priorities and you will have a team that is fueled-up and ready for anything!
High performance teams are fanatically focused on reaching as high as they can to achieve their goals, and they derive great energy in staying connected to their overall purpose and in celebrating achievements along the way. So I have a question for you, when was the last time you talked about your team’s goals and your organization’s vision with those you lead? The answer you are looking for is, ‘today’. Here’s a quick check-list for you to help determine if you keep your team fanatically focused.
- Does your team have clear goals that you keep in front of them all of the time?
- Does each team member understand how they contribute to the organization’s vision in a meaningful way?
- Do you support your team members through coaching conversations to help them to more fully and effectively play their part and move towards goals as efficiently as possible?
- Do you show energy, enthusiasm and optimism about the goals your team is working towards? (If you don’t believe that what you are all aiming for is worthwhile, why should your team?)
- Do you recognize and celebrate successes, no matter how small?
Some may not admit it but everyone wants to feel special. In the workplace that feeling results in particular from two areas. Most obviously, perhaps, recognition. Every leader knows that it is important to recognize the people they lead. Sometimes it is easy to overlook opportunities to do so. The recognition does not have to be linked to money or any other material reward. A simple “well done” and the leader’s showing their own excitement about small successes are high octane fuels. Recognizing small successes leads to bigger ones because what we focus on grows. Take it from psychologist, William James who once admitted, “ I now perceive one immense omission in my psychology – the deepest principle of human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”
Try this: Develop your own people recognition system and look for opportunities to recognize individuals and the team as a whole in a genuine manner. When energy and morale is low, your focus must be on recognizing contributions and ensuring team members know they are valued and are making a difference. Show your pride in being your team’s leader and it will ignite their pride in being a member of the team as well.
Healthy Climate & Teamwork
Conflict within the team is a huge energy drain and distractor. If there are interpersonal issues, lack of support for one another and poor communication, start resolving it NOW. Often this is something leaders put off hoping the issues will eventually go away but most frequently, if not addressed, they grow and can even become ingrained as part of the culture, creating a slow moving team that lacks responsiveness and resilience.
Try this: One way to improve how your team works together is to simply ask your team members what they believe needs to happen in order to have more effective and productive teamwork and a healthier climate. Bring your team together and ask your team members to each identify at least two things they believe the team needs to do more regularly in order to become an even better team. From the overall list, come to agreement on at least 3 things your team commits to focusing on going forward, these three practices form a set of Team Agreements you and your team members can use to ensure team members work more effectively together. Revisit these Team Agreements regularly by simply asking, ‘How are we doing living up to these practices?’, ‘what’s working well?’, ‘what do we need to recommit to?’, ‘what’s getting in our way?’ ‘what support do you need?’
For the most part, fueling your team does not take a great deal of time or even skill. It requires that you show your own enthusiasm and support on a regular basis for your team and that you make each of these energizers a priority. Remember, energy that carries a team the farthest is when they know their contributions are valued and when they can see they are making a meaningful difference to the team and to the achievement of the team’s goals.