Five Answers You Need To Have About Your Team
I laughed to myself as the young comedian quoted the famous line from the 1992 movie, A Few Good Men. "He wasn't even born when that movie came out," I thought. In case you've never seen the movie, the line is, "You can't handle the truth!" It's spoken by Jack Nicholson, who portrays a Marine colonel, in response to questioning by a Navy JAG officer played by Tom Cruise.
In my work with leaders, I sometimes discover they are unwilling to ask the hard questions about their team. It's not because they are afraid of the truth; they are just so busy "juggling elephants" that they won't invest the time for such reflection. Sadly, it's often this very type of exercise that could help with their physical and mental overload.
If you're feeling a little overwhelmed by all you are juggling as a leader, finding answers to these questions (and taking the appropriate action) will create a healthier environment for you and your team:
1) What really drives each member of my team to deliver their best work?
Do you use that knowledge and insight to create more effective conversations with them?
2) Does my team have a healthy respect for the "Why" behind the "What?"
Are your team members so busy meeting the next deadline that they have forgotten the value they bring to internal or external customers?
3) Do my team members feel safe to talk about conflict or difficult issues?
Effective teams don't avoid the tough conversations. They know their work is too important to be weighed down by the "elephant" in the room.
4) Do I trust them?
Are you giving them "stretch assignments" to help them grow and relieve some of your workload? Do you encourage diversity in thought? Would they say you micromanage them?
5) Am I a positive example of how I want my team members to think and act?
Do you show respect and understanding? Are you cultivating a culture where everyone's contribution is valued? And do you model a healthy work/life balance?
While these certainly aren't all the questions you should be asking, they will give you enough information to move forward with greater confidence and clarity. Isn't that what the truth should do?
For more, check out, Seven Questions You Need To Ask About Your Team.