Monday, January 7, 2013

Fixing a Broken Team - Steps 11 and 12

Caveat: I want to offer that these steps can happen in parallel or in different order depending upon your situation.  As a leader, you decide where you're at, and which steps you need to take. 
Help and solve chronic problems – people must see evidence of leadership. 
As you’ve listened to the team members, you’ve picked up on some chronic problems that have been around forever.  These are problems other managers have NOT been able to solve, but they're very real.  If the problem is a worthy issue that can truly make a difference for the organization, make it your business to fix one of those problems …  Things like: ‘We can’t get parts’ and ‘We can’t work with our Canadian Suppliers.  Solutions to both problems are radically different: one requires pure data, the other required finesse involving a different culture.   If your new team sees you resolving a longstanding issue that others have avoided, you'll win major points in respect, which translates into more of their energy expended to help you lead. 

Put them on the map
After the team scores a few real points, let the world know.   Nothing pumps up a team that was downtrodden like recognition from others that things are moving and changing in a positive direction.  One of the curses of the corporate world is a fear that recognition will lead to poor performance.  The research (and my own experience) shows this is not true.  People are proud to work in a group with achievements, and those achievements, in turn, energize greater achievements.   Clearly a manager must be careful to only recognize ‘the real thing’ but if someone on the team has done well, speak loudly.  If the whole team has done well, shout it from the rooftops.   Organizations don’t know what they don’t know.  As a leader, you’re the one who has to brag about your team.  Do this diplomatically, with good data, and with professionalism, but by all means give your team the organizational recognition they deserve!

There is a peripheral but powerful motivational benefit to recognition.  No one wants to go backward.  Once the team has shown what it can do, the bar is set and your expectations can be pushed even higher.  People like being part of a winner, and they will hold their position at all costs. 

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