by Angela Kambouris | Featured Contributor
When it comes to building teams, there are hundreds of books, articles and a few who class themselves as “guru’s” talk about teams. Teams are built from a foundation of respect, trust and care for each other and not from a group of people who just work together. Today’s teams are more dispersed, digital and diverse. While new challenges exist, success still depends on a core set of fundamentals that make a team a great team.
Countless organizations struggle to motivate teams but whose responsibility is it really? People confuse motivation and inspiration, consistently interchanging them in conversation. Inspiration is an inside job. When you feel inspired, you lead yourself to be able to lead others. When you rely on external motivation, someone else to motivate or validate you, your power has been given away.
Motivation is a pulling force. Inspiration is a driving force. Motivation is something from the outside that compels to act. Inspiration is something you feel on the inside. As Dr Wayne Dyer said, “motivation is when you get hold of an idea and carry it through to its conclusion and inspiration is when an idea gets hold of you and carries you where you are intended to go”.
If you want to do exercise and you feel that you don’t have the time, or its too cold outside, you must motivate yourself to go and do the exercise. That motivation will pull you towards doing exercise. On the other hand, you may hear a speaker who inspires you, read a book that lights you up or meet a person that warms your heart, whatever it is that inspires you touches you on the inside and connects you to a state of being more energetic, purposeful, driven or anything that becomes of being inspired.
Identifying your internal drive is an individual responsibility. Creating environments where people thrive is a collective responsibility. Leaders infuse opportunities within the workplace to allow individuals to rise to the occasion.
Unfortunately, what ends up happening within workplaces, are leaders, and even great ones, are inadvertently strangling teams to a slow death. Let me share with you 8 ways happening every day and little by little killing your employees to die a slow death.
You have lots of ideas and no vision
The foundation of business is often lost in the day to day operations. Businesses are all too quick to forget about why they set out to achieve. Once they are up and running, business takes a different pathway from its initial intention. When we invest in getting clear about the foundation of a business, the vision provides a purpose and direction moving forward. The vision serves as a reminder to its core purpose and helps influence actions towards a specific direction.
Vision statements instil an inspirational and empowering culture. We know that employees are a company’s greatest asset. To achieve success, the whole team must be on board. A vision empowers employees. It encourages them to think independently, it gives them something to work towards long term even when short term success isn’t apparent and in turn, a long standing happy and productive workforce is born. This culture permeates the fabric of an organisation and with the right foundations, direction and culture, no vision is unattainable.
The most important thing a leader can do is to set direction and communicate it in ways that connect and compel others. A vision creates a deeper sense of belonging, of being connected and of engaging in work that amplifies creativity. Employees, inspired by the illumination of a clear direction forward, can better align their full energies and resources to achieving progress.
Hamster on the running wheel
The greatest vision and best ideas without a strategic plan is like a hamster running the wheel over and over again. A strategic plan creates a platform for analysis of the current situation, ability to set priorities, to focus on resources and energy to achieve and maintain an organisation’s competitive edge. It is more than a glossy document sitting on a shelf being reviewed once a year. It’s a mindset that allows organizations to be proactive to foresee their future and prepare accordingly, to keep up with ever-changing trends in the market and stay one step ahead of the competition. It sets up a sense of direction and aids in realistic goals in alignment with the vision and creates a foundation from which an organisation can grow. When the plan is clear, boundaries are established for efficient decision making, opportunities are created for the evaluation of its success and people are celebrated.
Zero focus on personal development
When a company doesn’t invest in your personal development, whether it be training or extracurricular activities what do you think the consequences would be? How long would you be able to survive in an environment where opportunities to grow and expand are absent? It is a sheer motivation killer.
Less me, more we
As individual investment is critical for growth, team building plays a significant role in building successful company culture. We know when we invest in people, business is rewarded with higher productivity, relationships are strengthened and collaboration breeds, environments are created where bonds are formed and morale increases. Even more than that, identifying team’s strengths creates opportunities where individual’s abilities are recognised, healthy risk taking is promoted, responsibility is shared, and success celebrated.
Avoid all responsibility and blame others
Have you ever seen a leader blame teams for when projects fall apart? Maybe experienced the lethal wrath of a leader who didn’t meet the deadline and blame their team for not getting it done? When a leader fails, the whole team fails. A leader is responsible for the consequences of their choices. Great leaders take all the responsibility and give away all the credit.
Who is the wisest in the room?
Many executives make the mistake of thinking that they are the most experienced and wisest in the room. Whilst years of working need to be acknowledged, your people make the biggest impact. Leaders need to engage their people as key stakeholders and promote proper feedback channels. Leaders, say what you mean, deliver on what you say and genuinely care for your people.
Thriving on blame of management
Have you ever been part of a workplace where the people would thrive on “management” getting it wrong? Like throwing a piece of meat to lion that hasn’t eaten in days. The lion masticates the piece of meat within seconds and spits out the parts he doesn’t want. When leaders are not transparent in their decisions, we are feeding the monster and once it becomes Godzilla, it’s a little late. Confront the issue when it’s small, explain the ‘why’ behind decisions and create a transparent and inclusive culture.
Mistakes not accepted
Blame and shame runs rife in our organisations. Even more than that, it runs rapid in our communities. People are shown up all the time, to be made of as an example. Fire him and show others that you don’t tolerate mistakes. So, what just happened. We stomped on any capacity to try new things and gave a message to bury innovation. When we bury innovation, we starve the minds and hearts of our people and businesses fail. Get ready to join the long list of failed companies.