Leadership Trevolution Blog


Blog Entries by Tag: Communication

Three Reason Collaboration is Faster than Top Down Leadership

Published on: Nov 05, 2012 | Tags: Team Leadership, Teamwork, Productivity, Collaboration, Decision Making, Communication, Management

I have never enjoyed putting jigsaw puzzles together, but when I have participated in completing one the picture on the box is indispensable. Without it, I find it difficult to know where to start or understand what pieces go in which part of the final product. I can’t imagine being expected to create pieces for a puzzle not knowing what the whole picture is supposed to look like. 

That is the dynamic managers can create when they assign work without considering input from employees. Employees are delegated work with the expectation that they can create the parts without understanding or contributing to the design of the whole product. It is no wonder that in the end the pieces of the puzzle, whether a product, project, or service, don’t fit. 

At times, collaboration may be perceived as more time consuming than top down direction, but is it really. It may seem faster to tell people what to do, but you have to consider reworks, work arounds, conflicts, and competing ideas in your assessment of the time that the top down approach requires. 

There are three reasons that collaboration is faster than top down directing. 

1.  Seeing and developing the whole picture

In a collaborative process, employees engage in defining the picture. Every resource every team member brings is available to determine the best outcome andPuzzle the most efficient way to get there. When each person sees the whole picture and contributes to it, most of the problems in the top down approach disappear. 

2.  Positive interaction develops better working
     relationships

In the collaborative process, a skilled leader who knows how to use process and human interaction to discover the best solution manages the interactions. This develops quality relationships that engender communication and mutual support. As a result, when a team member is unsure of his or her impact on another they can work together to find a solution before problems escalate.

 3.  Complementary work

When a team that both developed and created the picture of the whole creates a product, project, or service the pieces tend to fit when the puzzle is put together. The individual work is complementary benefitting the whole.

 In a fast pace, high change environment practicing collaboration to achieve a better result faster may appear counterintuitive. It also requires a leader skilled in both process and interaction that results in collaboration. If you are interested in learning more about these skills you should participate in our upcoming, complimentary webinar, Leading Your Team to Collaborate, on Friday, November 16 at 1 PM Central. For more information or to learn more click here.

Revolutionary Collaboration

Published on: Oct 15, 2012 | Tags: Communication, Team Leadership, Productivity, Decision Making, Management, Teamwork

Collaboration can revolutionize both the experience and outcome people share when they work together. A revolutionary experience can result in both new freedom and a stronger team. For many work groups, this is an elusive reality to create even when it is both valued and desired. 

Leadership is the key to revolutionary collaboration. The leader determines whether a team works collaboratively or not. My experience has been leaders who desire to develop collaboration in teams lack the concepts, knowledge, and skills to get there. This is not an indictment of their leadership, but an observation of how current management practices fail leaders.

We can begin with a definition of collaborative behavior as it relates to the workplace. 

Collaborative behavior is the practice of considering how my decisions and actions affect my team members, and making the choice or taking the action that benefits everyone affected.  

 Beyond that, if I do not know how my decisions and actions affect team members, I find out before deciding or acting.

CollaboratePracticing collaboration requires developing this discipline in both leader and group members. This practice will revolutionize the way you work together. Some affects you can anticipate include: 

Increased and relevant communication – Team members must both seek and share information to act collaboratively. 

Mutual support – Collaborative action is supportive action as choices are made that benefit everyone involved. 

Openness – When one team member asks another how he or she can approach a decision or action in a manner that both or all benefit, there is an inherent openness to hear the answer.

Less conflict – When one person in a work group makes decisions or takes actions that undermine others conflict is created and grows. Collaborative behavior diminishes this dynamic lessening conflict on your team. 

Better outcomes – When team members take actions that connect their shared responsibility to a shared outcome you will see an improved product. This includes less time spent on workarounds, reworks, or compatibility problems. 

Can you see how collaborative behavior will revolutionize your team? Would you like to know more about revolutionary collaboration? Our next webinar Leading Your Team to Collaborate will provide more insight into developing collaboration in your team, in your leaders, and in your organization.It is scheduled for Friday, November 16, and you can sign up here.

Ensuring an Accurate Perspective in Accountability Sessions

Published on: Sep 17, 2012 | Tags: Feedback, Team Leadership, Communication, Decision Making, Management, Accountability

FeedbackSomeone recently said to me, “This is my perspective.” While I appreciated that person informing me, it was not necessary. When we speak, we usually do so from our perspective. I did appreciate that he recognized it though. Some of us do not think much about how our perspective influences our communication, decisions, and actions.  This can have serious consequences when providing a team member feedback or holding him or her accountable. 

When you are looking in one direction it is easy to be aware of what is creating your perspective, but it is important to realize that there are always points of view that you are not taking. 

Try this, look straight ahead and consider everything you see. Now, turn around and consider how much you could not see from your original perspective, but is just as present in your current circumstance. 

Many times leaders fail to consider all that they can see, much less what they may not see from their point of view. Have you ever said or thought, “I wish I had known that?” 

That is usually my thought after it is too late to do anything about it! 

Before you give a team member feedback there are three steps you can take. I am discussing the first one here. We will consider this further in our upcoming complimentary webinar. 

  1. Look Around to Gain Perspective

Make sure that you have seen everything in your view, and then look around for additional interpretations of what you see. 

A manager had a team member who did not contribute in meetings. He interpreted that lack of participation as disinterest and apathy: his perspective. 

We broadened the manager’s perspective by looking at all of the information that was available, but ignored. The team member was engaged outside of meetings and his performance was above expectations. 

This additional information influenced the manager’s perspective and made him more open to alternative explanations. Ultimately, he discovered that the person did not feel it was safe to speak in meetings. 

In addition, he needed time to think about his contribution, and that time was not built into the decision making process for the team. He was not able to contribute as a result. 

If the manager had acted on the original interpretation of the situation, he would have had a negative impact on a person who contributed in every way outside of meetings. He might have lost a valuable team member. 

When the manager discussed the problem with the team member with a broader perspective, they were able to achieve a win-win solution that increased the team member’s contribution. Beyond that, the team benefitted as everyone’s opportunity to participate grew. 

What difference will taking time to broaden your perspective before giving feedback have on your team? 

We will consider this and more in our complimentary webinar, Creating Employee Ownership through the Five Levels of Accountability. This is our second and last time to offer it this year so don’t miss out. It will held be on Friday, September 28 at 1 p.m. Sign up here.

Leadership Credibility through Accountability

Published on: May 07, 2012 | Tags: General, Team Work, Team Leadership, Productivity, Management, Organizational Leadership, Organizations, Communication

Accountability, when discussed in organizations, usually focuses on employees as subordinates. Managers expect people to be accountable for the results of their work, as they should. A problem develops when people are not as productive as expected and managers cannot or do not hold people accountable. This occurs in spite of the coaching and counseling training that many organizations rely on as the way for managers to approach their responsibility. When the initial focus of accountability is on the person in the subordinate position, it is difficult for accountability to work. The initial focus of accountability should be on the leader. Account

The leader should be accountable for his or her leadership before he or she expects accountability from others. The way to accountability as a leader is through credibility. People tend to embrace accountability to someone who is equally accountable to them. When you, as a leader, fulfill your role well you become someone to whom others willingly become accountable. Voluntary accountability is much more powerful than relying on authority and power. Becoming credible requires attention and intention to your leadership role. Here are three ways to build your credibility in a way that develops accountability. 

Create ownership by offering opportunity 

I find that leaders value people who take ownership in their work. Ownership increases accountability. If you, as a leader, want to increase ownership, then be accountable to provide people the opportunity to own their work. It must be work worth owning from their perspective. They have little interest in doing your work. Unless you are accountable to provide opportunity, you may find it difficult to hold them accountable as owners. 

See results by positioning people to achieve – 

The fundamental need for accountability develops when one fails to meet expected results. I have worked with managers who believe people do not want to or cannot succeed so they exert control that results in micro-management. In the end, these managers still struggle to find significant productivity. If you want people to deliver results, be accountable to position them to achieve. Most people can achieve more than they realize. An effective leader positions team members to surprise themselves, even though he or she is not surprised. He or she sees the potential in people and believes they want to succeed. 

Experience progress by developing healthy relationships – 

Many times, work groups cannot progress because people do not work well together. Even maintaining the status quo presents a challenge in these cases. Managers get frustrated from endless turbulence. If you want people to progress in the ability to work together, you as a leader must be accountable to develop healthy relationships within the team. If you do not fulfill your accountability to guide people on your team out of relational turbulence, you should not expect them to progress in their ability to work together. 

There are many ways a leader can be accountable to followers at both the team and organizational level. If you want to increase accountability from those in your organization or on you team, first make sure you are credible as a leader. You will find the willingness of people to be accountable to you increases with your credibility.

Confidence in Conflict Resolution

Published on: Apr 30, 2012 | Tags: General, Team Work, Team Leadership, Productivity, Management, Communication

Elephant

Do you think of aggression and hostility when you hear the word conflict? If so, you define conflict like many of those I have taught conflict resolution. In reality, much of the conflict I have observed is passive. It is underground and as such, ignored. When we ignore conflict because it has not reached the level of hostility and aggression, we sacrifice our team’s ability to move beyond the inevitable turbulence it creates. 

Passive, unresolved conflict can be observed in team member interactions. Avoidance seen in failures to communicate or support another team member can be indicative of passive conflict. Third party communication where individuals talk to others about differences they can only settle with each other perpetuates team turbulence. A manager who listens to individuals’ complaints about one another, but does not engage them in addressing the problems perpetuates conflict. Collectively conflict is ignored while individually everyone knows there is “an elephant in the room.” 

Underlying conflict’s negative effects include decreased productivity and a negative work environment. The failure to communicate and support other team members creates reworks, frustration, unnecessary work-arounds, missed deadlines, and management fatigue. I am not aware of any organization tracking this metric, but it is not difficult to conclude that it costs productivity.

Elephant

Beyond lost productivity, a turbulent environment stresses most people. The negative workplace can cause people to dread coming to work, making the job a duty to be survived. The experience of unacknowledged tension and protecting oneself from negative encounters robs potential commitment and enjoyment of work from even the most resilient people. In this context, employees do not engage they survive. If they have options, most eventually look for a different position. 

The manager or leader has the responsibility to address passive, underlying conflict. It induces  equal, and at times larger, problems than open conflict. It is also easier to ignore. Raising and addressing the underlying conflict without experiencing the aggression and hostility that we pay any price to avoid challenges leaders and managers. 

Addressing conflict with confidence requires an effective conflict resolution process. An effective conflict resolution process has three qualities. 

Problem Solving – If you and those you work with are unable to resolve differences because you fear blaming or being blamed you may push conflict underground. If you are a “blamer” as a manager then you may be forcing conflict underground. If you will become a “problem solver” instead, you move the focus from the person to the problem. 

Reconciling Relationships – For people to work together and achieve individual and collective high productivity, they have to develop healthy relationships. They may not be best friends, but they will treat each other with respect, openness, and support. When conflict is resolved well that is the outcome. Your process should yield that result.

 Understand, Engage, and Embrace Diversity – The goal of conflict resolution is not to make everyone the same, or even get them to agree all the time. It is to position people to accept one another without the perception of threat. A good process becomes the foundation for people to relate to one another in a way that the power of differences becomes fertile ground to grow individually and as a team. 

Confidence in conflict resolution grows when you have a process that is based in these three qualities. Over time, you will begin to see conflict as an opportunity instead of a problem.

Elephant

Leading Self: A Case Study

Published on: Mar 12, 2012 | Tags: General, Personality, Trimergent, Self Leadership, Productivity, Mission, Vision, Communication

Many professionals struggle with a lack of clarity and direction in their career. This has a direct impact on life direction as well. We share a common desire to experience purpose, passion, and reward for our work. One young professional found herself in just such a position.

She works for a large healthcare organization in Central Texas that represents many professional opportunities yet, as with most large organizations, can be challenging to navigate in terms of career path. As she sought clarity on the direction of her life and career, she decided to participate in the Trimergent Leadership® System Leading Self course. She said, “I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do career-wise.”

 Decisions

Her participation resulted in a personal mission and vision that were supported by her core values. She also developed a clear understanding of her personality as well as her passions. These, plus the identification of her strengths and weaknesses, positioned her to be true to self.  

“It is definitely a challenge,” she said, “It’s one of those things where you have to be willing to take an honest look at yourself, who you are. It’s extremely powerful. It was extremely eye opening and freeing.” The focus she gained through the Leading Self experience allowed her to know both who she is and who she is not.

The next step was to apply her experience on a day-to-day basis. She developed this ability as she practiced improved communication skills, life management and life balance. “Throughout Leading Self, I learned a lot about timing, being patient and really learning to voice who you are and being okay with that,” she reflected.

Once the course was completed, she possessed clarity and direction. “I was offered a couple of jobs during that time that were just a little outside my most suitable place to work,” she said, “They were things that, over time, would have really drained me. I don’t think that I would have had the awareness to recognize that without Leading Self. I actually turned those offers down.”

In the current economic climate, turning down good job offers is a very bold move. This surprised the people interviewing her and led to another meeting.

“They called me in and said ‘Those were nice offers, why did you turn them down?’” she recounted with a smile. “I was able to be open and honest and tell them why and additionally what I would enjoy doing, and they found a position to meet me where I was. It was pretty incredible that I got to have a hand in finding something I would really enjoy. That all came out of Leading Self.” In addition, she received a significant salary increase.

She credits discovering who she is designed to be to the Leading Self experience. “I’m able to be more of the person I desire to be in more areas of my life,” she said.

 Trimergent Leadership® System Leading Self is available for groups in a 5 day or 10 day format. Individuals can experience it in an 8 session coaching format.

 

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