Difficult Conversations: Developing Your Team to Grow Your Business

4 Apr 2013 – Jim Schroeder –

PoD_Dream_Team

Not long after entering management in the industry for which you have trained, you realize one skill you did not acquire in your education is the ability to have difficult conversations, or what I sometimes call courageous conversations.

For the scope of this article I am referring to the leadership that you wear or leave in the closet in your day-to-day functioning. These conversations often involve issues or behaviors related to staff, clients, associates, or partners. I find that the majority of managers avoid these difficult moments by focusing on what they were trained for and enjoy. We wishfully hope, “perhaps they will go away if I ignore it long enough.” Unfortunately, left unaddressed, they often only get worse and impact both the morale and performance of the company. Rather than leaving the office with a sense of satisfaction each night, you go home ruminating and often grinding your teeth over an unaddressed issue. At this point, if you can not relate to what I am writing, consider yourself fortunate, and you can put this article in recycling. For those of you that exclaim, “That’s me!” read on.

Following are some tips for getting unstuck and avoiding the serious consequences of avoiding the difficult conversation. First of all, can you identify the issue and person or persons that are involved, or have you avoided it so long you now call it normal?

I will list a few examples that I have encountered both in my own career and now as a consultant/coach in offices and corporations.

1. The employee or office manager that uses intimidation or bullying their co-workers to gain the desired outcome.

2. The low performing employee that is ignored and brings the performance standards to a level that makes co-workers or yourself want to scream!

3. The associate whose relationship skills are demeaning to staff or driving patients out the back door.

4. The client that has started out with the business but has now developed demanding or abusive expectations, and everyone dreads the moment he or she enters the door. Equally frustrating is the employee who develops similar expectations of his or her co-workers.

5. The new employee who is never accepted or allowed to develop and become part of the team, also known as the “clique syndrome.”

6. The executive whose tool box for coping is anger, frustration, manipulation, or better yet, passing it on to the office manager and other employees.

As leaders of the business, a different skill set is required to address the issues above. We are accustomed to completing skilled procedures and functions, being experts in our fields. With leadership and the development of people it’s an ongoing process that requires our continuing influence. We all recognize clients and they return to our company not only because of our great margins and great job done, but also because of the experience they encounter with our team. Following are the steps to short-circuit the toxic situation.

1. Man up! Acknowledge and commit to addressing the issue. Have a conversation with a trusted colleague or your spouse. Hopefully if you have raised this issue 10 or 15 times, they will ask, “When are you going to take action?”

2. In a calm, reflective moment, write out the specific issue, how long it has persisted, the consequences of this performance or behavior, and the people involved.

3. List the different choices you have and the anticipated consequences of each choice: dismissal; train and develop; coach; perhaps you need legal advice or coaching before beginning the process.

4. Commit to a date on which you will address the issue, and do not let yourself rationalize to do it later.

5. Identify what will look different in the employee behavior or performance to demonstrate that they have clarity and understanding of your expectations. Be specific and try to eliminate ambiguity.

6. Offer coaching, counseling, or skill training depending on the situation. Sometimes the person may need development, and your investment in them will turn them around into an outstanding employee. We are all a work in progress!

Take the time to develop a process that brings you to a place that puts light on the situation in an objective manner. Practice and refine a process that brings about action and results in growth. Recognize your own strengths and weaknesses in your leadership style. Commit to growth in this area, not unlike a continuing education course in your specializing field. Allow your brain to think objectively, and analyze the various components, much like we approach a complex project or contract. View moving forward and look at your steps as win-win. We are not doing anyone any favors by ignoring these issues… everyone suffers. Understanding and developing our leadership skills is one of the most underdeveloped skills in our tool box. It impacts every facet of our office from profitability to the enjoyment of our profession.

I am including a reading list to enhance your lifelong learning. Please feel free to contact me with questions or comments.

– The Truth About Leadership, By James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner

– Developing the Leader Within You, By John C. Maxwell

– Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t, By Jim Collins

– Lead Change, By John P. Kotter

– The Motivating Team Leader, By Lewis E. Losoncy

– Jack: Strait from the Gut, By Jack Welch and John A. Byrne

– On Becoming a Leader, By Warren G. Bennis

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Needing to improve your Team Engagement?

Getting the best from teams and effective team working is key to your success as a Leader and business. The challenge is to adapt your thinking, communication and style to leverage the potential of teams.  At PlusOne Dynamics we invite you to complete our free iMA Questionnaire,it will only take 2 minutes and will reveal your preferred communication style as a successful Leader / Manager plus how you can communicate effectively with your team while enhancing the connectivity, productivity and engagement of your staff. An iMA Audit or Workshop at your next Team Building event or session will greatly enhance the connectivity and performance of your team and have them motivated to engage in your business direction.

iMA is an exciting universal language, designed to maximise connectivity: mutual liking, trust, understanding and respect. Everyone speaks one of four iMA dialects, putting them on the same wavelength as 25% of the world’s population.  iMA is a simple way of observing and understanding the differences in people, then connecting with them on their wavelength. When this happens communication, trust, understanding, co-operation and sales increase, and stress and tension decrease.
I stands for Identify your iMA colour style and that of the person you want to connect with.
M stands for Modify your message by encoding it in a way that is most likely to be understood.
A is Adapt the way you treat one person vs. another.

Review our iMA Services here, and consider a PlusOne Dynamics iMA Workshop for your next team building event.

To become an even better Leader we invite you to download our PlusOne Dynamics free e-book – “12 Cs of Building a Team that Works“, you will gain valuable insight into to how you can grow and build your team using effective communication and contexts. This FREE e-Book provides a simple “answer these questions” guide surrounding your team, communication and connectivity.

Download Here – No Signup required!
http://www.plusonedynamics.com/12cs_for_building_a_team.html

Team Building Ideas – Leadership Nuggets

02 Apr 20134 – Shaun Notcutt –

PoD_Team_Leader_Large (Custom)

Lead out of purpose:
Why do you get out of bed in the morning?  We sometimes think that to lead out of purpose we have to have a plan, but many times purpose doesn’t have a plan.  Purpose looks like I do what I feel I was born to do.

 

Lead with vision:

Sometimes we think of vision as something that is very personal  Most people don’t have a vision for their lives until they start to have a vision of the people around them.  When we can find a vision for the people around us, that is when we begin to get a vision for ourselves.

If you are having trouble with your vision, look at the people around you and what they have a vision for.  Most of the time this also works by serving somebody else’s vision. When you can serve another man’s vision, you gain the ability to expand your own vision.

 

Leading with humility:

Can you maintain a life of humility and service no matter what position or title you hold?  Can you grow and still live in a place of humility?  Sometimes I think we look at leadership all wrong, the person at the top is not meant to control everyone below them, but rather to serve those below them.  Your role as the leader is to serve those below you.  Our job to grow in leadership is to grow downwards.  Our responsibility in leadership is to grow further down than you do up.

 

Lead relationally:

Many people want to lead outside of relationship. This is because we think that we look like a better leader to people who don’t know us. But effective team building mostly comes from leading relationally, especially the people who do know us.

You need to ask yourself; can I lead the people who are with me on a daily basis?

Ask yourself, am I the leader I really think I am?

Ask your wife, your husband, your friends, your kids the same question.

Do your friends look like leaders? Or are you only associating with people that aren’t as strong as you to make yourself feel more powerful?

Are my friends growing as leaders and am I growing with them?

 

Be a leader that leads leaders:

I have mentioned this previously, but it is easy to lead people we feel more powerful than.  One of the tests of leadership is this: Do you surround yourself with people who are stronger than you? Can you lead those who are stronger than you?

 

Lead without fear:

Fear will kill leadership growth, and all types of growth at that.  You have to be able to lead without fear.  This is different than being able to lead without being afraid.

 

Importance of Team and Team Work – iMA Can Help

Blue 3d People Working Together To Hold Colorful Pieces Of A Jig

Teams are formed when individuals with a common taste, preference, liking, and attitude come and work together for a common goal. Teams play a very important role in organisations as well as our personal lives.
“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success-Henry Ford”
The above proverb by Henry Ford can very well highlight the importance of working together in teams.
Every employee is dependent on his fellow employees to work together and contribute efficiently to the organisation. No employee can work alone; he has to take the help of his colleagues to accomplish the tasks efficiently. It has been observed that the outcome comes out to be far better when employees work in a team rather than individually as every individual can contribute in his best possible way. In organisations, individuals having a similar interest and specialisations come together on a common platform and form a team.

A sales team has employees inclined towards branding and marketing activities to promote their brand. An individual with a human resource specialisation would be out of place in such a team. Research supports that organisations with clearly defined teams are more successful as compared to those with a one man show.

Team work is essential in corporates for better output and a better bonding among employees.

  • No organisation runs for charity. Targets must be met and revenues have to be generated. Tasks must not be kept pending for a long time and ought to be completed within the desired timeframe. A single brain can’t always come with solutions or take decisions alone. He needs someone with whom he can discuss his ideas. In a team, every team member has an equal contribution and each team member comes out with a solution best suited to the problem. All the alternatives can be explored to come out with the best possible solution. Thoughts can be discussed among the team members and the pros and cons can be evaluated.
  • Tasks are accomplished at a faster pace when it is done by a team rather than an individual. An individual will definitely take more time to perform if he is single handedly responsible for everything. When employees work together, they start helping each other and responsibilities are shared and thus it reduces the work load and work pressure. Every team member is assigned one or the other responsibility according to his specialisation, level of interest and thus the output is much more efficient and faster.
  • Work never suffers or takes a backseat in a team. Mike was taking care of an important client and was the only one coordinating with them. Mike took a long leave and there was no one else who could handle the client in his absence. When he joined back after a long vacation, the organisation had already lost the client. Had Mike worked in a team, others could have taken the charge when he was not there. In a team, the other team members can perform and manage the work in the absence of any member and hence work is not affected much.
  • There is always a healthy competition among the team members. Competition is always good for the employee as well as the organisation as every individual feels motivated to perform better than his other team member and in a way contributing to his team and the organisation.
  • Team work is also important to improve the relations among the employees. Individuals work in close coordination with each other and thus come to know each other better. Team work also reduces the chances of unnecessary conflicts among the employees and every individual tries his level best to support his team member. The level of bonding increases as a result of team work.
  •  Team members can also gain from each other. Every individual is different and has some qualities. One can always benefit something or the other from his team members which would help him in the long run. Everyone is hungry for recognitions and praises. One feels motivated to work hard in a team and to live up to the expectations of the other members. Each member is a critic of the other and can correct him whenever the other person is wrong. One always has someone to fall back on at the time of crisis.

Team and team work must be encouraged at workplace as it strengthens the bond among the employees and the targets can be met at a faster pace. Workload is shared and individuals feel motivated to perform better than his team members.

 

Needing to improve your Team Engagement?

Getting the best from teams and effective team working is key to your success as a Leader and business. The challenge is to adapt your thinking, communication and style to leverage the potential of teams.  At PlusOne Dynamics we invite you to complete our free iMA Questionnaire,it will only take 2 minutes and will reveal your preferred communication style as a successful Leader / Manager plus how you can communicate effectively with your team while enhancing the connectivity, productivity and engagement of your staff. An iMA Audit or Workshop at your next Team Building event or session will greatly enhance the connectivity and performance of your team and have them motivated to engage in your business direction.

iMA is an exciting universal language, designed to maximise connectivity: mutual liking, trust, understanding and respect. Everyone speaks one of four iMA dialects, putting them on the same wavelength as 25% of the world’s population.  iMA is a simple way of observing and understanding the differences in people, then connecting with them on their wavelength. When this happens communication, trust, understanding, co-operation and sales increase, and stress and tension decrease.
I stands for Identify your iMA colour style and that of the person you want to connect with.
M stands for Modify your message by encoding it in a way that is most likely to be understood.
A is Adapt the way you treat one person vs. another.

Review our iMA Services here, and consider a PlusOne Dynamics iMA Workshop for your next team building event.

To become an even better Leader we invite you to download our PlusOne Dynamics free e-book – “12 Cs of Building a Team that Works“, you will gain valuable insight into to how you can grow and build your team using effective communication and contexts. This FREE e-Book provides a simple “answer these questions” guide surrounding your team, communication and connectivity.

Download Here – No Signup required!
http://www.plusonedynamics.com/12cs_for_building_a_team.html

Turn Your Disengaged Employees Into a Dedicated Team – iMA Can Help!

Turn Your Disengaged Employees Into a Dedicated Team

06 Mar 2013

Originally posted in 2012 on LeadershipInstitute.com by Colette Johnston Click Here to see the original.

PoD_Team_Work (sm)

Team building is simply actively listening, respecting employees, and implementing small changes. Often the first instinct when facing a disgruntled or disengaged employee is to show him or her the door. But look around. Is there more than one person who feels disengaged? Hiring and training new employees eats away at your bottom line, and creates insecurity for the survivors weakening the whole team.

In this struggling economy building a cohesive team by turning the negatives into positives is the quickest way to a better balance sheet. Take a Best Buy store in Manchester, Connecticut as an example of how teams can be turned around when the manager listens, digests what he hears, and implements, rather than reacts in the moment of perceived crisis:

Blue shirts. Great service. Knowledgeable. Perky. A well executed plan for success. That is the story of store 484, in Manchester Connecticut. It took a new manager, Eric Taverna, with a mission to change the team culture from disengaged employees into a dedicated team. It all started with a Gallup poll. When the results came back Taverna did what every great manager should do:

  • Listen – actively listen. There is no greater compliment than someone listening to you.
  • Respect employees’ opinions and give full consideration to their ideas – put out a suggestion box, or corkboard that offers anonymity.
  • Implement change that reflects input from your employees -it shows that you listen, and value their ideas.

In the Best Buy example, one of the most requested changes was that employees close the store together. Their motto is now, “Team Close” which has a double meaning and is a powerful implication for team unity. According to the Gallup Business Journal that motto has now been broadened to “One store – one team.”

You don’t have to hire a research firm to find out “what’s up?” with your team. Listening, and building your own “team close” can happen with a well-crafted team building session, tailored to your specific needs. When your whole team comes together, learns how teams can and should work, they walk away smiling and feeling empowered.

Building a strong empowered team culture can do a lot more than put smiles on your employees’ faces. It can make your managers smile at rising revenue numbers. It is a well proven fact that engaged employees feel valued, work harder, and give better service to customers. When customers feel well-served, enter a friendly atmosphere, and feel like the person offering the service listened to them, and provided solid answers, they walk away saying, “I’ll tell my friends about this one.” All it takes to do more business is a team that is really a team. Turning your employees into a team may take a little team building that will more than pay for itself.

 

Colette Johnston

Colette Johnston is a Corporate Development Manager who works with clients in over 30 major cities including Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit and New York.

 

Considering a Team Building Event?:

Getting the best from teams and effective team working is key to your success as a Leader and business. The challenge is to adapt your thinking, communication and style to leverage the potential of teams.  At PlusOne Dynamics we invite you to complete our free iMA Questionnaire,it will only take 2 minutes and will reveal your preferred communication style as a successful Leader / Manager plus how you can communicate effectively with your team while enhancing connectivity and productivity. An iMA Audit or Workshop at your next Team Building event or session will greatly enhance the connectivity and performance of your team.

iMA is an exciting universal language, designed to maximise connectivity: mutual liking, trust, understanding and respect. Everyone speaks one of four iMA dialects, putting them on the same wavelength as 25% of the world’s population.  iMA is a simple way of observing and understanding the differences in people, then connecting with them on their wavelength. When this happens communication, trust, understanding, co-operation and sales increase, and stress and tension decrease.
I stands for Identify your iMA colour style and that of the person you want to connect with.
M stands for Modify your message by encoding it in a way that is most likely to be understood.
A is Adapt the way you treat one person vs. another.

Review our iMA Services here, and consider a PlusOne Dynamics iMA Workshop for your next team building event.

To become an even better Leader we invite you to download our PlusOne Dynamics free e-book – “12 Cs of Building a Team that Works“, you will gain valuable insight into to how you can grow and build your team using effective communication and contexts. This FREE e-Book provides a simple “answer these questions” guide surrounding your team, communication and connectivity.

Download Here – No Signup required!
http://www.plusonedynamics.com/12cs_for_building_a_team.html

Team Work Translates to Success

Consider the wide range of PlusOne Dynamics iMA Strategies & Services (iMA HR Audit, iMA Workshops) when reading this article.

17 Dec 2012 – Padmaja S Singh – Enzine

PlusOne Dynamics Team Building

The modern work culture totally depends on working as a team. In an office, every department has to work in tandem, coordinating and co-operating with other colleagues. However, achieving total team efficiency is a difficult task as each individual works with a different mindset. It is not uncommon to see personality clashes at workplaces, as everyone’s style of working is different. It is, therefore, essential for any manager to create a sense of togetherness in the team and restore some sense of discipline.

Simply giving out a guideline regarding the work process is not enough. A manager’s job is to make sure that each team member shares a common outlook at work.

There are various team building exercises that can not only improve team work but also boost each individual’s confidence as well. There are many fun activities which corporate offices undertake to boost a sense of trust, comfort and confidence among team members.

Team building activities reap benefits

It is a common knowledge that in order to get any work done, working as a team is necessary. However, it is often seen that we tend to incline towards people we are comfortable with. Corporate learning programs aim at helping people open up to people they don’t often interact with. These programs aim to promote healthy communication. Team building activities highlight the various qualities in a person which may otherwise go unnoticed.

Exercises that motivate one to think out of the box, step out of the comfort zone and do the unusual, to prove oneself and others just how much one is capable of. Team building activities aim at building mutual trust, compatibility, communication, and essential collaborative skills.

It does not matter whether these team activities are quick five-minute exercise inside the office space or much elaborate weekend outdoor activities, these exercises bring out each members’ creative streak.

Various corporate learning exercises are employed for a fun, yet fruitful, team building activity.

Benefits of undertaking team building activities

• Improved communication: Healthy and proactive communication is the key to a good, functioning team. Lack of communication leads to misunderstandings, unwanted conflicts, delay in work and a horde of other problems. Communication – verbal or non-verbal – is very important for a successful business. When organizing team building activities, one should keep in mind to address communication issues and introduce exercises which focus on strengthening communication within the team.

• Creating a comfortable atmosphere: People spend a major part of their day in office with colleagues. A healthy rapport with every individual in the office creates a comfortable atmosphere for working. Trust and interdependence building exercises go a long way in creating a friendly, yet professional work atmosphere.

• Breaking the stereotypes: It is common for people to be stereotyped – whether it is because of the nature of their work, their body language or simply the way they deal with clients. When participating in various team building activities, people tend to think and act unconventionally. Group exercises help in recognizing and utilizing different skills, techniques and tapping the talents one may have not known existed!

Padmaja Singh is a prolific Mumbai-based freelance writer who writes on numerous topics including Leadership Training, Innovation Workshops, Corporate training & Induction Training, to name a few.