Does your company express leadership in teams? Make sure the design of your measurement system is made for team success. Being a leader means getting things done through others, which implies a team of some kind. The most critical ingredient to leading teams is trust and trust starts with you. The transformation starts at the personal level. When mutual trust exists, people feel motivated to help and support one another. This, in turn, creates a high-trust environment, which is the key to creating high performance work teams.
Creating, building and sustaining trust is hard for some leaders because they might be weak at social interactions, providing substantive feedback, encouragement, or conveying goals. In other words, good leaders must be good communicators.
People are social beings. Therefore leading others requires that we have relationships that are based on more than just the task at hand. We need to listen. We do not have to be the best of friends but we do need to be able to work with one another and communicate as friends. Are you able to talk about your employee’s family, their likes or dislikes? Do you even know what they are? Listen.
Build Leadership Trust
Do you communicate your vision? Are you enthusiastic at work? Tell your employees “We can do this” or “Yes, it’s possible”. Are your communications predictable? Nobody likes late or last minute news. People like advanced warning. It makes them feel like they are part of the team. Similarly, people do not like being kept in the dark, it makes them feel uncomfortable. Keep people informed of changes, absences, schedules, results, and, most importantly, of daily successes.
- Clearly define responsibilities
- Develop communication guidelines
- Identify a conflict resolution mechanism
- Select and introduce the team
- Encourage an open exchange of ideas during team creation
- Create a shared purpose, direction and goals
- Provide detailed and timely feedback
Provide detailed positive feedback. Use substantial and timely feedback to encourage others on the team. “Great work everyone” works wonders for the team but only say it when you mean it. Conversely negative feedback or constant complaints really weaken trust.
How do you respond in a crisis? Good leaders are able to respond in a calm and unemotional manner. Teams do not like (read trust) wild, chaotic leaders that yell and scream in a crises. But trust increases when leaders calmly avert or deal with a crisis. Success builds confidence.
- Do your measures balance financial and operational demands?
- Are you focused on the critical few measures?
- Are your metrics weighted according to importance, strategy, and vision?
- Is the data you collect timely, reliable and accurate?
- Do you have both leading and lagging indicators?
- Do your measures focus employee behavior?
- What unintended employee behavior could result from your measures?
- How are measures aligned between departments/operating units?
- Are targets set against internal baselines or industry benchmarks?
- Are targets easily attainable or require people to stretch?
Leadership in teams and the design of your measurement system both coincide with team success. Building leadership trust is all about communication. Predictable, encouraging, positive feedback builds trust. The measures you choose should support your employee behavior by balancing and aligning your indicators with your goals. If you want to be a good leader then you will need to increase your personal trust through strengthened relationships and improved communications.