Trust is a key part of my relationship with organisations I work with. With that comes permission to challenge their leadership teams. Yes, I am often that critical friend that plays the devil’s advocate role designed to help them stretch. One complaint that I often challenge is that of lack of resources and a need to hire more.
In my previous role as a certified career coach to mid-and senior level corporate professionals, I came to the realisation that many organisations are losing key talent purely because they have not taken the time to shape a culture that inspires and gets the best out of the people they already have.
Rigid job descriptions, job titles and seniority levels get in the way of exploring the value their people can offer.
Engagement, innovation and creativity get stifled as people are drip-fed information on what their organisation is about, its dreams, progress and challenges.
Meeting agendas are set by the leader and the meetings themselves are structured in a non-inclusive way that limits transparency, creative conversations and ideas generation. Lots of voices get marginalised, the same people speak and are listened to, whilst others sit back to get fed information.
New hires are brought in brimming with ideas, only to quickly settle into “the way things are done around here” and lose their spark months into their new roles.
Over time, the talented ones get itchy feet and leave in search of cultures that allow them a voice, inspire them and give them a true sense of belonging. They move into organisations that inspire them to work in service of the whole, nurture relationships and encourage them to focus not just on their own or their managers’ progression, but on collective success.
On the other hand, leaders continue to feel overwhelmed and unsupported by their teams, accusing them of not stepping up. They then complain of lack of resources, only to recreate the cycle when new hires come in.
Here’s where I say, STOP!
Your problem does not lie with a need for more resources. Most team members do not come into work intent on not helping or stepping up. You just haven’t created a culture and environment that inspires them to do so and brings out the best of what they can offer.
3 Steps To Getting More Out of Your People
1. Re-assess your team: take a moment to look at the individuals in your teams through a different lens and imagine the wealth of wisdom (gained from previous and out-of-work experiences, their background, lessons from the networks and so much more), creativity and innovation each individual can offer. Think about how you can engage them differently. Ask them.
2. Reshape your culture: focus not on getting more resources but on creating an inspiring culture where people feel safe enough to step up, disagree with one another and challenge the status quo – without fear of getting in trouble and damaging relationships.
3. Focus and develop teams: focus on a development journey for your team and ensure it is designed to develop them collectively as one, and not just on individual development. And no, I’m not talking about one-off team-building events where people get together for a jolly, build some blocks, tie ropes, have drinks afterwards and get back to their normal way of working the following day. I’m talking about coach-facilitated conversations about what gets in the way of you getting the best out of one another, creating a shared vision, identity and goals. A solid team development programme must be co-created with the team and include measurable team development targets and follow-up accountability sessions to ensure that you are progressing as a team and maximising the vast resources you already have within your organisation.
Where to start?
Subscribe to receive a copy of my e-book, “7 Leadership Mistakes That Stifle Your Team”, In it, I share stories of leaders who have made the shift from leading from the front, to sharing leadership and working with their teams to ensure they are maximising their resources. My hope is that those examples will inspire you to think about new ways to serve your team as a leader.
If you would like to go a step further, apply to our online diagnostic assessment and compare your view of your team’s strengths and weaknesses, to a proven model of team effectiveness used by thousands of teams worldwide.
Most importantly, invite your team to start the conversation on how best to get you from where you are to where you need to be.
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I am a culture change consultant and executive coach who specialises in creating a culture of shared leadership within organisations – often starting by employing my VIBE methodology to help leadership teams align around their vision, identity, behaviors and engagement – of all stakeholders, but most importantly of their people.
I strongly believe that your leaders and leadership team’s ways of working with one another shape your culture. With 15 years’ experience of successfully developing leaders, teams and organisations such as NHS, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Greater London Authority, National Grid and Northern Trust, my methods have been designed to drive inclusion so that organisations can get the best out of their people and unleash the power of the collective – not just that of individuals.
By pooling individual capabilites, my team and I strengthen workplace relationships leading to more effective communication, decision-making and collaboration – as all voices (particularly the marginalised ones who often deliver greater insight, creativity and innovation) are re-engaged and empowered to challenge the status quo.
For more information, visit my website: https://obijames.com/