I often say that the feedback you give says as much about you as it does the person you are giving it to, and when I do people look at me funny. After all, the feedback I give you is about something you did, it isn’t about me at all, is it? Not so fast, my friend.
As a leader, you are a part of at least two teams — the team you lead and your team of peers. Often leaders don’t focus enough of their energy and time on one or the other of those teams, to everyone’s detriment. Today, I want to talk about how to build relationships with your peer team — especially if you are new, and they aren’t.
Dialogue is a fabulous communication tool. It allows for clarity of understanding, closure and complete communication. When you think about it that way, you’d think — why wouldn’t I want to use it?
Because you are reading these words, I am confident you have an achievement mindset — you are a believer in ongoing learning and development for yourself and those you lead. This belief is a big part of the answer to your question, but let me start someplace else. Because of how you see the world, it might be hard for you to understand why others might not be excited or looking forward to a training or learning experience. Let me see if I can give you some perspective, as well as some action steps.
The title of this post is a great question and the answer is … It depends. Actually, there are, I believe, two answers that may seem in disagreement at first, but I hope they will be clearer to you in the time it takes you to read this short post.
Most organizations do it, and it often causes challenges (but we keep doing it anyway) — assigning people to a project “part-time.” Here’s the situation: You’ve been asked to work 30% of your time on the project while you do the rest of your work. So you have the pull of a full time responsibility and the pull of a project team that wants to work on the project. The project work may be exciting and new (if the purpose of the project is clearly understood) and the existing work is comfortable and known. Without some help in prioritizing and some guidance about how to split time and attention, this is a recipe for frustration at the least and overwork and stress at the most.
I’m often asked how we can delegate faster. While I understand the question, it is really the wrong question. Instead, how about we start with “how can we delegate more effectively?”
I’m a big fan of the power of questions. I’ve written about that on this blog, and my blog on my website many times. But there are times when questions can be tricky, or even dangerous. I’ve asked the following question many times in different ways. Here’s the question, and my answer … “If I know the answer I want, can I use questions to lead my team to the same conclusion?”
More and more teams are working remotely — from each other and their leaders. This can lead to many challenges, not the least of which is creating collaboration among this team when needed. This challenge becomes more prevalent as the nature of work changes and the world gets smaller. And while part of the answer is technology tools, it isn’t the full answer. As a leader, you need to provide/make available the tools the team needs. You want to find, with the help of your IT team or on the internet, tools that promote connection, document and idea sharing, real-time collaboration and more.
Most leaders profess to want innovative teams. And, while I believe that is what they want, they don’t necessarily act as if that goal is important to them. Not only that, when they want innovation (and aren’t getting it) they look at their team and say (or think) things like: “They just aren’t very creative,” or “What can you expect from a bunch of X’s? (enter the profession of choice).”