Managing a team has never been more complex.
Knowledge-based workers are challenging status-quo leadership at every turn. Many of them work from home or are distributed across time-zones, and sometimes across continents.
Even at companies where everyone works under one roof, the unique demands of the modern workforce are evolving. Millennials (who will comprise nearly half of the workforce in the next few years) seek purpose and meaning in their work. They want the right mix of challenge and autonomy and crave strong relationships with their managers and co-workers.
We have written an eBook to respond to manager frustrations regarding the next generation of employees. 15Five’s Guide To Creating High Performing Teams, is designed to provide insights for a variety of topics including, relationship building, creating accountability, and holding more effective meetings.
Everything you do as a manager depends on this one basic premise:
Your Employees Are People!
That may seem obvious, but just ask yourself how you interact with employees. How do you treat them? Do you genuinely care about them? Are you helping them to live a more meaningful existence?
Many managers mistakenly believe that employees are just like any other company resource – they must be maintained, catalogued, and put to use in a way that proves their worth or they are quickly replaced. Like any resource, they believe that employees have fixed abilities and a fixed value.
But employees are much more than that. They have complex emotional, physical, and mental systems that must be understood and nurtured in order to perform at their potential today, and to be able to grow into even greater potential tomorrow. Once you do that, you actually have the ability to transform each employee into the effective, creative contributor you want them to be.
He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.
Scientific evidence over the last decade in the field of Neuroplasticity shows that the brain (and the entire human being) is not fixed, as previously thought, when we reach adulthood. People can be rewired, by creating new neural pathways and weakening old ones. Changes in behavior, environment, intellectual stimulation, physical activity, and emotional stability all play a role in enhancing people’s abilities at work.
People want to grow, it’s in our very nature. But the mindset that people are fixed assets, tools, and resources is one of the biggest barriers to that growth. The best way to shift out of this mindset and elevate the performance of your team is to communicate with them regularly. Start initiating key conversations by asking these 2 questions on a regular basis:
1. What’s going well in your role? What are you proud of?
Give your employees an opportunity to celebrate and even brag a little about all the positive stuff that’s happened recently. You will also discover what they consider to be a triumph relative to the goals of the team and organization.
2. What challenges are you facing? Where are you stuck?
When people identify where they are stuck and then bring someone else’s attention to the challenge at hand, they’re in a position to receive the coaching and guidance that helps them think about an issue in a fresh new way. Often just writing about where they’re stuck begins the process of getting clear on how to resolve it themselves.
People problems are the biggest barriers to the growth of any company, but the real problem is that your team is likely performing way below their potential. By talking to your people regularly and asking them questions, you capitalize on the opportunity to trigger their incredible innate capacity for learning and growth.
Asking questions inspires self-reflection and encourages action. Inquiry allows managers to acknowledge successes and offer support to help people learn, grow, and eventually become their greatest selves. (And as an added bonus, you will likely create genuine loyalty with your people, which translates into long-term trusted relationships and very low turnover.)
Remember that when your team performs well, you perform well. And it all starts with communication.
This is an excerpt from 15Five’s Guide To Creating High Performing Teams. We offer you this valuable resource with over 20 pages of research and actionable advice for managing people to become their greatest selves.