In this age of job insecurity, team members may go out of their way to reassure you that everything’s fine. They’re ahead of schedule. They’re exceeding your standards. They’re working together better than ever.
That sounds great. But is it really true?
Overly optimistic teams can pose a particularly thorny challenge. That’s because they tell you what you like to hear. They’re enthusiastic and driven to succeed. And the problems buried within their rosy reassurance may not surface for a long time.
You don’t want to crush a team’s spirit. If you express doubt in the group’s ability to perform up to its own aspirations, you can lower morale.
A better strategy is to shift the team’s focus to measurable output. By tracking production in a transparent manner, you prevent the group from bending over backward to please you. Some teams lack the perspective or guidance to keep them grounded. As a result, they set unrealistically ambitious targets without realizing it.
Other teams are preoccupied with political considerations. They inflate their projections to make themselves seem invaluable or to stand out from other, competing teams within the organization.
The next time you suspect your team overpromises what it can deliver, respond by explaining the yardstick you’re using to measure success. Whether it’s cost savings or a percentage reduction in customer complaints, identify the metric and confirm everyone understands that it will serve as the overriding test of team effectiveness.