Watch My Lips #2 – Three Ways To Step Up Team Performance

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Watch My Lips

conversation cartoonIn my last post we looked at how to get your team to step up to the mark and get things done. We focused the fact that quite often, it is us as leaders who need to change, and I offered some ways in which that might happen.

What else can you do to increase the chances of your team members pulling out all the stops and achieving what you need? More and more research is pointing to the importance of emotional intelligence –  the ability to identify, assess, and control one’s own emotions, the emotions of others, and that of groups, as defined by Goleman et al. It is pretty clear now that high levels of emotional intelligence foster environments in which information-sharing, trust, healthy risk-taking, and learning flourish. Low levels create climates rife with fear and anxiety: employees who are afraid of losing their jobs can be very productive in the short term, but it doesn’t last.

But what does all this mean in practice? I am currently coaching a client (we’ll call her Christine) who is experiencing just these kinds of frustrations with her global team and our sessions have thrown up some additional questions and  insights that could help address some of these challenges:

What are you doing to build relationships? If you work in the same location as your team, what can you do in informal moments to understand what’s going on at a human level, what people are interested in and what’s happening with their families? Most people need to feel they belong and that their boss can be bothered to find out what’s going on. If you lead a virtual team, how are you replicating this informal time? How can you ‘plan’ coffee-machine interactions? Christine realised that she has a better relationship with her US colleagues, probably because she has spent time with them at overnight events. She is now resolved to find ways to get to know her colleagues in Mumbai. [su_pullquote align=”right”]People genuinely want to know where they stand in terms of current performance and long-term expectations[/su_pullquote]

How often are you catching your team members ‘doing it right’? People genuinely want to know where they stand in terms of current performance and long-term expectations and we cannot assume that a ‘no news is good news’ approach will encourage them to do do more of what is working. We might know what’s good, but generally people can’t guess what we are thinking. By her own admission, Christine prefers not to micro-manage, based on her personal preference of working independently. We identified however, that although she is confident to ask for feedback from her boss, this is probably not the case with many of her direct reports. She is now looking at how to increase the frequency and timeliness of positive performance feedback.

Are you sure that actions have truly been agreed? When you hear someone agreeing to complete an action, but without conviction, are you checking a) that they have the same understanding as you, b) that they are committed to doing it and c) that they have the confidence to do it? Sometimes, especially at the end of team meetings when we have another three or more appointments to get to, we hear what we want to her, that an issue is going to be resolved. For Christine this situation is exacerbated as all of her team members work virtually and she cannot monitor body language. Her focus now is to pay attention to tone of voice and to take the time to attune to confidence levels and underlying, but not articulated, concerns.

If you would like to know more about how Move Ahead Global can help improve your leadership performance? Please click here.

© Move Ahead Global 2014



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Series Navigation<< Watch My Lips #1 – Why Doesn’t My Team Do What’s Been Agreed?
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