Tell me if this scenario sounds familiar…
At the start of the day, you sit down at your desk and take a look at your schedule. You’ve got a busy day ahead of you, and a lot of high-level items on the docket. It’s your busy season and a lot is coming at you and your team fast.
Before you can get started, you’ve got a meeting to get to. But fortunately, it should be quick. It’s just a project update from your team. Most of the details were decided weeks ago. Today, you are just expecting to hear “all-clear” and then get back to work.
But then, the meeting starts…
“How are things going on the project?” you ask.
“Oh, I meant to ask you about that,” says a member of your team, “I have some questions.”
“Me too, actually – some things are still unclear,” says another.
The whole team nods and murmurs in agreement. “None of us really have any answers.”
What? you ask yourself, What am I even hearing right now? We talked about all this in that meeting last month. Everything was set in stone.
“I thought we were committed to this project…” you say to your team.
Then, one of your project’s key players speaks up: “To be honest, we’re not even sure what this project is or why we’re doing it.”
After you answer their questions, you go back to your desk and wonder how this could have happened.
It is easy to question your team’s commitment when this happens. But here’s what we often forget…
If one person on your team is confused, they may need to lean in more. But if the whole team is confused, the leader needs to lean in more.
Leadership expert Dr. John Maxwell says, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” If you have commitment concerns about your team, there are actions you can take to clear up any confusion:
1. Communicate priorities and deadlines within the organization – regularly.
It is one thing to tell our teams how and why our organization is running – it is another thing for them to retain that information.
We may believe that once is enough. After all, we don’t want to communicate to our teams that we don’t trust them to hear us when we speak. But long-term retention requires repeating – as many as seven times.
We may think we sound like a broken record. But when you weigh the consequences of over-communicating versus under-communicating these details, there is a clear winner!
2. Focus on finding solutions.
Naturally, people want validation that they are doing the right thing. If our team members are unsure about something, they are likely to ask a teammate for help. But if every teammate they ask is unsure, your project could experience major delays.
When you use your workplace culture to prioritize finding solutions instead of coming to a group conclusion, you lay the foundation for efficient communication between teammates and leadership alike – and not only that, but you encourage team members to get things done!
3. Ask your team about their big-picture and project particulars.
Before you reinforce details, you may want to find out how well your team understands the project. What is its purpose? What is their role in its completion? What happens if the team is successful? What happens if they are not?
Knowing what your team knows may help you see where communication breakdowns are happening and adjust accordingly.
Speaker and author Andy Andrews said it best: “When confronted with a challenge, the committed heart will search for a solution. The undecided heart searches for an escape.”
Is your team getting away, or are they getting results? Take the next week to assess, and then see what’s possible when you communicate and lead by example.
That’s all for now,
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