Have you heard the phrase, “The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing”?
It conjures quite a funny image to mind. I think of my left hand making a meal on the stove while my right hand tries to wash the pan that I’m using… what chaos it would cause to be so uncoordinated.
But I supposed if it weren’t so ridiculous, it wouldn’t be so effective.
“The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing” – it shows us just how backward it is not to think about the bigger picture.
After all, your right hand always knows what your left hand is doing because they both belong to the same body, and the brain talks to them both…
And yet, there are still some teams who don’t communicate with each other.
As an executive coach, I have seen it many times. The team is struggling – they are not hitting the team’s targets and are falling behind as a group, but their leader can’t see any clear signs of what the problem might be. They are all talented and driven team members working their hardest to accomplish their tasks.
Very often, the problem here is that they are working their hardest to accomplish their own tasks.
Each member of the team has siloed themselves – they are focused on their own goals, projects, and targets. They are not so much one unit working toward one big-picture goal, but a group of people who come to do their own thing at the same office each day.
They are not collaborating. They are not sharing insights, resources, or progress reports. They are not looking at big-picture results. They are not a team. And most unfortunately, they are not reaching their full potential.
As leaders, we must make a team out of our team members – we must bring them together so that they can create something that is greater than the sum of its parts.
1. Clearly convey common goals.
Leadership expert John Maxwell says, “One is too small a number to achieve greatness. No accomplishment of real value has ever been achieved by a human being working alone.” We form teams because all of us can do more, better, faster, than any one of us on our own.
When you set clear and specific objectives for your team and make them widely known, you reinforce the collaborative nature of the group, and you set a standard of accomplishment across titles and tasks.
2. Establish meetings and communication among the team.
The most effective leaders lead by example – their job is to create the customs of their workplace. By modeling and initiating collaboration and communication for your team, you show them that your organization values effective teamwork. Put channels in place that your team can use to share valuable intel with each other.
3. Track and measure progress.
Management consultant Peter Drucker – named by BusinessWeek magazine “the man who invented management” – once said, “Only what gets measured, gets managed.”
As the team moves toward their goals, keep track of their metrics to assess how they are progressing and communicate them publicly. This will not only continue to encourage collaboration, but also maintain a big-picture perspective among the team.
4. Support the team.
Between the vision-casting and directorial duties of leadership, we are liable to forget that, at the end of the day, our job is to serve and support the team. They are your organization!
We are leaders so that we can ensure our team is hitting their marks, professionally and personally, and part of that is equipping them with the necessary resources. Fear of lack can keep a team divided; keeping them well-resourced will remove concerns from their path.
Does your team see the bigger picture? As you enter the new year, you can use these techniques to ensure your teammates are working together toward your organization’s strategic goals.
Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, and sweetest holidays to you and yours!
That’s all for now,
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