Teams: Who do you want to be?


Portrait of a young businesswoman

When we think of teams, motivating people to do their best work, setting goals, targets and KPI’s. We generally ask the question: What do we need to achieve? But creating a team that really works hinges on also answering a really simple, possibly more important question:

Who do we want to be?

Answering this will set the context for standards and behaviours that we want our team to engage in.

Of all the things that leaders do, the hardest thing they will face is holding people accountable for behaviours. Leaders are generally ok at managing results. These are black and white - you either achieved them or you didn’t, and it’s plain and simple for all the world to see.

But behaviours are different. They are subjective, open to interpretation and Leaders often feel like they are making a personal attack - or possibly a HR nightmare - if they reprimand their staff on the basis of what they are seen to do (or not do).

But the reality is that your team wants you to manage unproductive behaviours. They see them clear as day and they want you to do something about it. And if you don’t…. well, they draw their own conclusions.

So why do we find it so hard? There is one major culprit:


The Behaviours aren’t Clear

This is the number one reason, even if you don’t realise it. In the same way that we couldn’t hold people accountable for their results if we don’t set KPI’s, budgets and targets, we also can’t hold people accountable for behaviours if we don’t set clear expectations.This is where that simple question comes in:

Ask your team to honestly tell you who they want to be.

Do we want to be the best customer service division in the company?

Do we want to be known as the team that gets things done?

Do we want to be the business unit that everyone wants to work for?

We call this ‘Team Brand.’ Do this collaboratively. It is far more powerful coming from them than it is coming from you.

From here it gets simple (kind of). If this is who we want to be, then what behaviours should we be engaging in that represents this? Identify the behaviours that would make your team achieve their ideal brand.

You might also want to talk about behaviours that the team is currently exhibiting that undermines this ‘Team Brand’. What behaviours do you need to stop doing? These are just as important - and sometimes more important - than the new ones we want to see.

Creating this level of clarity and engagement allows you to manage these behaviours far more effectively. Not only are they becoming clear; they don’t just represent the things you want the team to do, they represent the things the team wants everybody to do.

(for LinkedIn and Teamcorp Blog)


** Our leading for high performance program shows leaders exactly how to make this happen. If you want to know more about the program, click here
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