How to leverage uncertainty to your team’s advantage
In a survey I conducted of 190 executives last December, 83% of respondents said that what they most look forward to during the holidays is a break from work and the chance to spend time with family. And that’s no surprise.
According to recent Harvard Business Review Research, the majority of employees feel overworked, overwhelmed and burnt out, with overall well-being and well-being at work declining. closer to home, Adecco reports that Australian employees experience some of the highest levels of burnout in the world.
So what causes so much stress at work? This month, I polled my clients and readers again to ask what their biggest leadership concern is in 2022. More than half said navigating uncertainty was their biggest challenge, followed by building team dynamics, both of which have been on the leadership agenda for years.
Who would think that three years after first hearing the word ‘Covid’, leaders would still be preoccupied with navigating uncertainty? Yet here we are.
So what can you do, as a leader, to prepare your team to make the most of uncertainty?
- To work to the team
Very often in my work with leaders I see leaders focused on the job in the team to provide their KPIs. They’re so wrapped up in it they can forget to work too to the team. The distinction here is between management and leadership. Often promoted because of their technical expertise, a manager knows how to mobilize resources and people to deliver a good job.
In contrast, a leader knows their team’s innate strengths, connecting their team’s hearts and minds to their purpose to achieve exceptional results while helping them find meaning in their work. Leaders inspire, impact and transform their teams, becoming more known for their ability to influence results than for their work themselves.
If you want to prepare your team for new uncertainties, you need to focus on building team dynamics and elevating your leadership. Schedule time as a group to review team performance and discuss what needs to change. Redefine your purpose with the involvement of the whole team and redefine obstacles as opportunities to disrupt the market.
- Build a culture of authentic trust, authentic collaboration and voluntary accountability
A recent Gartner study have shown a significant drop in employee trust since the start of the pandemic, both in their colleagues and in their leaders. Traditional networking opportunities and team bonds have been put on hold in recent years, putting trust and collaboration on the back burner.
Building trust is hard with a dispersed team, but that’s exactly why it needs to be a key focus of your 2022 goals. It starts with leading you. Being open with your team requires you to be vulnerable and brave, but it will show your team that they can trust you and, in turn, trust themselves.
When your team operates with authenticity and a willingness to be open, you’ll be less afraid to try new approaches, leading to innovation. Mistakes can be viewed as opportunities for growth and challenges as a way to collaborate toward common goals, working as a cohesive unit.
When team members operate solely on their own, it’s easy to focus only on personal goals or deliverables for their function to the detriment of the entire team. To align your team, develop a common goal that each team member contributes to. Next, encourage a culture of self-governance within your team where team members hold themselves and each other accountable for the success of the team.
- Rethink your approach to team building
The methodology and structure you use to “work as a team” is very important in achieving the results of genuine trust, genuine collaboration and voluntary accountability. Most methodologies approach team building as a “problem to be solved”. Where are you now? Where would you like to be? How will you get there and what will stop you?
Appreciative inquiry takes a strengths-based approach. It starts from the position of team strengths, moves to a shared positive vision of future team dynamics, focuses on what needs to change to make the dream a reality, and invokes an exercise around task prioritization. to ensure your highest team potential is realized.
Here are some of the results my clients have seen in our work with Appreciative Inquiry:
- Doubling of income
- 84% increase in Net Promoter Score in 6 months
- Cultural shift from “order takers” to a transformational mindset for the entire marketing department of an Australian bank
To enable your leadership team to navigate uncertainty, it is crucial to deepen trust, improve collaboration, and generate purposeful accountability. This is how leaders become the architects of their destiny.
Written by Repa Patel.
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