Getting the team you have reporting to you to work together is for many managers a huge challenge. Why is it difficult?
One, as we all know, different people have different perceptions and unless perceptions about goals, priorities, a plan of action and roles and responsibilities are aligned in some purposeful way there is just no way that team work has any chance of working. What is obvious to one person is very often far from clear to the next.
Two, it’s hard to expect people to really trust one another unless there is a climate where people understand where one another are coming from. Without trust there will be suspicion and faulty assumptions.
Three, everyone wants to achieve in their roles and that drive for individual achievement can often get in the way of supportive team work. You want to create a situation where everyone wins and certainly not at the expense of another team member.
The theme of this blog site is to try and make the management job a little easier so how can team management be made a little more straightforward? Well, this is where being brave comes in. If you really want to align perceptions, build trust and get people achieving together you need to enter the zone of uncomfortable debate where sacred cows are challenged, faulty assumptions are exposed and favourite activities from the past are put under close scrutiny and even scrapped! This requires bold leadership and courage and it would be disingenuous to suggest otherwise. So, no pain no gain. Is it worth it? My experience is that it is worth it because coming out the other side with perceptions aligned, high levels of trust and collaboration rather then competition makes a manager’s life a whole lot easier in the long run. The business coach, John Burroughes, talks about fighting downhill being more effective than the alternative and the analogy has significant relevance in this context.
In summary, getting your management team working as a team is a challenge because people have different perceptions of what needs doing, trust cannot be assumed and achievement can become destructive competition. Entering the zone of uncomfortable debate is one way of tackling these issues but requires courage to see it through. The journey is worth it because you will end up fighting downhill with more momentum.
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