Is your leadership team the source of poor performance for your division or organisation? We are all trying to get the most out of our people at the moment – we are trying to do more (work) with less (people). Effectiveness and productivity are the key attributes we need from everyone and we can’t have this without true Clarity. True clarity is the key to creating the culture you really want.
Often the cracks that appear in the window of clarity start with the leadership team. What should you look out for? There are three main problems.
Problem 1: Poor Cohesion
I don’t necessarily think that all leadership teams need to be best friends and go out for a beer every Friday afternoon. Leaders need to be cohesive in the fact that everyone needs to be committed to the outcomes from meetings and decisions that are implemented. If leaders aren’t committed, you can guarantee their own staff members aren’t committed either.
Build a ‘Disagree and Commit’ mentality. Building this involves building team capability and trust over a period of time. This is not easy, but leadership teams need to go through the same process as any other team in regards to developing cohesiveness.
Problem 2: Divided Loyalty
There is a fundamental decision that all members of leadership teams need to make. Does their loyalty lie with the leadership team, or with the team they manage? Understandably, most leaders are more loyal to the team they manage – after all, they spend most time there, they might feel like a mentor, they probably even hand-picked some of their staff. This has major implications for people’s motivation to buy-in to decisions and make choices for the good of the organisation.
Discuss this problem with your people when you think it is arising. Question people’s motivation and ask them if they are thinking locally or universally. One of the other major problems is that most rewards and bonus systems force people to choose between the two teams – re-adjust this where possible.
Problem 3: Poor Cascading Communication
This is the number one reason that clarity is compromised. A client said to me just the other day: “I am worried that my senior managers are only passing on 70% of what I tell them, and then the staff are only retaining 70%”. What he is saying is that only 49% of the original message is getting through to the people that have to make it work on the ground.
You can never be too clear about what you want to be said to the rest of the organisation and when. Make this the final point in each meeting you have and make sure you have a commitment from everyone. What decisions did we commit to? What are we telling people? When will we tell them? The first time you do this you will be surprised at how much discrepancy there is in what people ‘heard’ during the meeting.
In my keynotes and workshops around the country, in every industry, these three things keep appearing. Leadership teams need to understand the traps they regularly fall into and how to avoid them if they truly want to create a high-performance culture.
** Tony Wilson is a Workplace Performance Expert. His insights into performance science and it's application in the workplace will make you re-think the way that you approach leadership, culture change, high performance and productivity. Tony has an MBA and a BSc majoring in physiology and delivers workshops and keynote presentations around the globe.