Thursday, 14 February 2013 03:49

Are Your People on the Same Page as You in 2013?

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istock 000006855981medium - blue red green peopleThere is an 80% Chance They Aren’t – Here’s How to Fix It

I love the start of a new year. While I am not big into writing New Year’s resolutions, the opportunity to start a new year, with all of the challenges and opportunities that it brings, excites me.

The start of a new year also provides an opportunity to refocus your attention on long-term goals for your business and your team. Unfortunately, some of the biggest and best ideas that come from this period never come to fruition. One of the reasons for this is that your team, whether you realise it or not, may not be on the same page as you regarding expectations, values, behaviours and performance levels.

In my time in the Air Force, the start of a new calendar year provided other challenges, including staff being posted from other locations. In my last role, the start of a new year resulted in a 50% turnover in staff for 3 of the 5 years I was posted there. With that much experience lost across the Christmas period, we needed to find a simple and effective way in bringing new staff ‘up to speed’ with what was important.

Here is one simple way we found to bring new staff onto the same page as your existing staff. It involves understanding what you love and hate your staff doing and being able to articulate it with your new staff. I have used this on numerous occasions outside the military and taught it to senior Managers of numerous businesses – it is also a great platform for performance management discussions.

To get started, provide honest and open answers to the following questions:

1.      What are the behaviours that you hate your team to exhibit?

What are the things, big or small, that annoy you about your team’s behaviour. What are the things that you wish they would never do? Write as many as you can possibly think of. Whave found that this works incredibly effectively in small groups, as people ‘feed’ off the answers of others and add some of their own when prompted. My pet peeves are:

I hate it when my team.....
 

2.      What are the behaviours that you love your team members to do?

What are things that you thank your team members for doing? What are those little things that are done for you that make your life easier? My favourites are:

I love it when my team....
 

3.      Get specific.

The more specific you can be in what you love and what you hate, the better the list is. Often, the reason why we love or hate a behaviour is based on an experience in the past. Remember that experience and be able to explain it. Why do you love or hate this type of behaviour so much? People turning up late to a meeting frustrates me so much because of one particular Manager that wasted everyone’s time. We would arrive on time for a meeting, but he would regularly turn up 10 minutes late, then expect to be briefed on what had taken place prior to his arrival. I not only found this rude and disrespectful to others, but also a huge waste of time for everyone concerned. I vowed that I would always turn up to meetings on time, and that my meetings would run on schedule.

4.      Compare your list with what your team knows.

Once you have written down the behaviours that you love and that you hate, you need to check if your team has the same understanding. Have a look at your list and consider this question: If I asked a member of your team what behaviours you loved and hated, how many would they be able to provide me?

Have a look at your list and pick up a highlighter pen (or circle your answers). If you think your team already knows the behaviour you love or hate, highlight or circle it. If you think they don’t leave it blank. Go through your entire list, considering whether your team knows what you love and what you don’t.

When I undertake this activity with management groups, most participants have about 50% of their list highlighted, and 50% unmarked. What this means for most people is that half the time your team doesn’t know if the behaviour they are demonstrating is loved or hated by you.

Does that make sense? You could have team members doing a task in a way that you love, but because they don’t know it, they change it or perform it inconsistently. Worse, your team members could continue to do something that you hate because they have no idea that you don’t like it.

5.      Brief your team on your likes and dislikes.

Every team and every Manager we work with has different likes and dislikes – what one Manager loved another might hate. If we don’t tell our team the specifics of what we prefer, they will fly completely blind and be forced to guess, wasting both of your time when they could be doing something more productive.

It would be much easier if we were robots – we could print our optimum operating instructions on our foreheads for everyone to see – ‘How to get the best out of me – Step 1’ etc. Thankfully our teams and Managers aren’t robots, but because of this they do not instinctively know our likes, our dislikes and the best way to get the best out of us – we have to tell them.

6.      Advanced Step – Ask the same of your team.

Now your team knows how to get the best out of you (be doing more of what you like and less of what you don’t), do you know how to get the best out of your team? What are their preferences?

For your team to work efficiently and effectively, you all have to be on the same page. While the steps outlined above might be simple, experience has shown us that 60% of Managers haven’t thought of the question (or its importance) and 85% have items that they love (or hate) that their teams didn’t know about.

Does your team know what you love and hate them doing?

Kameleons – Developing Leaders can help with this and many other practices to get your team to work more efficiently and cohesively together. Call us on 0409627270 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to start the discussion today.

Last modified on Thursday, 15 August 2013 09:24

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