Friday, March 18, 2011

Handling Team Problems with Finesse

Keep your team on target:

Teams can easily get sidetracked for a variety of reasons. Their sense of direction may weaken as a result of your leadership style, the team's internal working or conflicts that may exist within the team.

Find out what the problem may be:

As soon as you realize there is a problem, deal with it immediately.   The most important piece is to identify the problem.  In many cases the problem could exist for the following reasons:

·      Misunderstood or ill-defined goals

·      Lack of focus on team dynamics

·      Lack of communication among team members

·      Lack of commitment to the team’s performance

·      Gaps in critical skills

·      Unresolved internal conflict

·      External misunderstanding, hostility, or indifference from other groups

Resolving the problem:

Don’t avoid or deny the problem by hoping that it will simply just go away. Problems and issues have a way of hanging around and growing larger and more annoying if ignored.

Often there are simple things that you can do to help a team to get back on track. For example:

·      Lead a discussion the reviews the team’s purpose, approach and performance goals.

·      Establish goals and a course of action to achieving them
·      Share new information and a different perspective.

·      Share outside information and data via benchmarks and case studies.

·      Remember to tell your tell team how much you appreciate their efforts and their work. Often a simple “Thank You” is all that team members may need from their leader or a pat on the back.

The art of leading a team is to persuade a person who is unmotivated ­­– which can range from a community outreach manager, and executive director to an administrative assistant  – to do his or her job. As the team leader, you must always show appreciation. Remember to thank people for the simplest things like opening a door.  How many of us have worked for and with people who never uttered words “Thank You”, but instead focused on what you weren’t doing according their non-verbal expectations of you?

One of the lessons I learned early in my career was that leading a strong and successful team takes an entire team’s effort in constructing a positive relationship.