What are the characteristics of some of the highest-performing teams? I’m reading a great book called “Talent Wins: The New Playbook for Putting People First” by Ram Charan. My Executive Team is reading it, and I highly recommend it to everyone! Here’s one of my favorite excerpts from the book:
“The leaders of the highest performing teams cared about their team members, provided opportunities for career growth, set clear expectations and goals, held their teams accountable for success and recognized outstanding performance.”
Not surprising, right? This is leadership 101. One thing I disagree with from the book is that they call this “management 101”. If you’ve listened to my blogs, you know I think there’s a big difference between management and leadership. I don’t think that the excerpt I just quoted is management. Processes are managed, but people managing reminds me of babysitting. I don’t believe in watching over someone to make sure they get their work done; if you feel the need to do that, you don’t have the right team. Also, if you have the right team and you “manage” them like that, they’ll hate it. Nobody wants to be micromanaged.
Leadership is engaging with the team:
- Providing opportunities for career growth
- Setting clear expectations and goals
- Holding them accountable and recognizing outstanding performance
You can’t engage with your team only when something bad has happened. That’s easy to do with operational and service delivery teams, but it leads to disengagement. We need to celebrate the successes when we have them!
Interestingly, the book doesn’t mention parties, happy hours, potlucks, etc.
I’m not saying don’t have them, they’re great opportunities to gather and have fun, celebrate and build connections. While I’m a huge believer in all of that, it can’t be the only way you create engagement. Over the years we’ve found this to be true at Service Express; leaders who only focused on fun times had a disengaged team. You can’t just have fun, you need to perform, achieve and make a difference. The opposite is also true, you can’t only focus on performance, you need to have fun too. There needs to be a balance.
Let’s work on keeping our teams engaged by balancing performance and fun. As we come back together and do things in person more frequently, it’s important to establish relationships that last when we’re away. Doing so will keep your teams engaged and effective!