The assumption that one person as leader is the primary player in team success is minimizing. Teams perform when all involved are leaders. Each one of us has the ability to improve the teams we are part of, informal or formal. There are three levels of maturity for teams:
- Leader drives accountability of the team and team follows
- Leader and team drive accountability together
- Team drives accountability, leader provides strategy and responds to the needs of the team
Effective team members also need the guts to influence the leader and their leaders. The role of the leader is primarily a strategic one, looking to the future and dragging everyone there. The role of the manager is primarily a tactical one, keeping all the puzzle pieces in the right place so the work gets done. Most managers and leaders play a combination of both roles. For each level to be successful, there must be communication to drive accountability between levels. This does not always have to be initiated by the leader. It does, however, have to be done within the unspoken political constraints of the organization.
- Be clear about what you want and how you'll know when you get it.
- Be aware of you own style in communication, good and annoying.
- Watch and learn how others communicate with the person you need to talk to. What do they do? What approaches work / don't work?
- Adapt your communication to the person you are influencing. Practice the conversation with someone else, preferably someone that has a similar demeanor or would like to pretend to act like the person you want to talk with.
- Don't give up - even the greatest disaster will provide you with information to make an end run and continue the conversation.
Many of us perceive that we are in 'The Troubles' now with constant multi-tasking, direction chanes and chaos. All of these things are happening. The question is what are you going to chose to do about it so your team can be great?