Last time we wrote about culture.
It’s the least professionally managed part of any business activity. Yet culture, that which shapes and forms the way people think, feel and behave, is the real work.
The wise executive knows this and wants every person in the organisation to be fully engaged.
An engaged person demonstrates passion, initiative, imagination, and resilience.
People with these qualities serve customers better. They solve problems faster and design products quicker. They support each other in ways that unhealthy organisations can only dream about.
Cultures that nurture these qualities are precious.
Yet research tells us they are also rare.
What’s more common are people who are not 100% engaged – even at the most senior level.
More and more people are going through the motions. Sleepwalking through their daily working lives. Bringing less of themselves to the workplace every day. Disengaged.
What a cost! What a waste! What a missed opportunity!
And it’s not for a lack of trying either. Companies spend vast amounts of money to boost morale and improve their culture. That’s ok (to a point) but money spent on benefits and campaigns does not make the biggest difference.
What makes the biggest difference to whether people are more engaged? More productive, customer-focused, innovative and more likely to stay?
The answer lies with the team. The team you work in … the 6 to 10 people you interact with most every day.
The idea is simple.
Improve the team you work in and you will change how you think about your organisation.
When people around you are supportive and authentic it transforms your working experience. Trust, respect and accountability are the basis of teamwork. When people on your team behave in this way, morale improves. You have more to give and your feelings of belonging for the organisation change.
You’re even more likely to overlook many of the larger (and harder to solve) problems of the wider enterprise. Poor communication, silo thinking, negative internal competition to name a few.
It’s simple and it’s true.
As the team gets better so does the business. And the culture becomes healthier, stronger and more resilient.
This is the most powerful lever for improving employee engagement.
In conclusion – when you build a well-functioning team you are doing two very important things at the same time.
- You are ensuring the business delivers on its goals. That’s a non-negotiable.
- And you are improving every single person’s working experience. So vital for productivity and morale.
So, where can your team improve?
To get you started, reflect on the 10 questions below.
- Do the members of your team trust and respect each other?
- Do team members speak up and share their opinions, even when they disagree?
- Does each member feel 100% committed to the team agenda?
- Does the team have a purpose and a primary goal that inspires and challenges?
- Do team members admit to mistakes, weaknesses and insufficient knowledge?
- Does your team come to decisions quickly? Does it avoid getting bogged down by over-analysis and consensus?
- When a decision gets made, does everyone support it?
- Do team members confront each other on behaviours that don’t serve the team agenda?
- Are your team meetings compelling and productive?
- Does your team accept the leader?
Next time we’ll talk about the leader.
If you’re the team leader you make a huge difference. Creating an environment of success is your ultimate responsibility. In the next post we will discuss how.
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