Michael Jordan once said: talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships. With six championship rings under his belt, Jordan is undoubtedly onto something about leadership, collaboration, and yes, group dynamics.
What does a successful team look like? The answer is as diverse as today’s competitive business environment. But here’s a few characteristics that may sound familiar:
- Talented and specialized. Within a team, multiple specialists create an environment where each area of talent improves the group. Specialists take a sphere of knowledge and truly bring it to life.
- Engaged and enthusiastic. Communication is open, candid, and focused on not just getting the work done but moving the business forward.
- Driven and consistent. Deadlines are not only par for the course but handled with enthusiasm. The energy is kept consistent not just for one project but for all team goals for the long run.
We just know what a successful team looks like; we can practically feel it. When a group is running full speed ahead with all talent aligned towards a specific objective, the energy is truly palpable.
Make Room for Improving Group Dynamics
Sunlight is an excellent disinfectant. In the business world, open and targeted communication is the proverbial sunlight. When performance suffers, people respond in different ways. Some double down on their efforts and turn things around through self-accountability and coaching. Unfortunately, other people turn their low performance into negative behaviors, and this negativity infects the entire team.
So it’s time to make room to improve group dynamics so that the overall performance grows across the team and the entire organization at large.
Bring together teams in a way that facilities these honest discussions. Before any discussion, make sure that you pull down as many metrics as you can relating to the tasks of the team. This quantitative data will also help frame the qualitative data gained from each and every meeting.
These meetings can be done with several variations: one on ones with everyone on the team, small breakout groups done at random within the team or held as one meeting where everyone is given time to contribute to the conversation.
Assessments and these candid meetings intersect well; the more data collected, the more dimension is given to the potential series of solutions.
The Road Ahead
The most important point to keep in mind while revamping group dynamics is to give proper time for adjustments. Take in feedback from all members without weighing one role above another. Giving all team members equity in the discussion leads to lower resentments and higher-quality feedback. Genuine feedback is the key to improving group dynamics and making better habits stick for the long term.
Leadership in business isn’t always smooth, but it is always worth revisiting how the intersection of group dynamics and leadership impact the organization.
At the end of the day, group dynamics is the arrangement of people for the benefit of the individuals, the team, the department, and the organization all at the same time. These overlapping groups orbit each other in a delicate dance that is improved or broken by leadership and careful but consistent improvement.
Growth usually takes on one of two very distinct pathways: a linear path and an exponential one. The latter sounds great, right? Just pull a few levers and watch your organization reap the benefits of exponential growth, making all of your dreams come true. Wait till that next quarterly review, you’ll show them you mean business!
Except that isn’t the entire story, and consistent leadership development results are better than exponential growth that isn’t sustainable.
So why talk about exponential growth in the domain of creating better leaders in the workplace? Well, because it never hurts to have something to aspire to. It never hurts to see what can indeed happen when consistent action is scaled out. That’s the key to making leadership development a potent component in today’s fast paced business environment.
What does feedback really mean? We talk about feedback, but we know that not all feedback is created equal. Feedback should begin with empathy, which is truly understanding the other person's perspective. From there, we want to come forward with evidence that backs up the statements we're going to make to that person. Direct, professional, and straightforward is the name of the game here.
Feedback and accountability go hand in hand within the world of strategically assessing leadership strengths and weaknesses.
What Comprehensive Feedback Isn't
Sometimes it's important to highlight what something isn't before we can really start visualizing what it is constructively. If you want to build or even transform current feedback and accountability processes, here's what to avoid most:
Relying on one assessment. There is no perfect assessment, and it's critical to avoid idolizing any assessment as the One True Measure of performance
Keeping resources too narrow. This isn't about trying to use as few resources as possible. Pull out all of the tools and see what's reasonable in terms of the specific leader being refined for greater opportunities (the ultimate goal)
Don't settle for just covering strengths and weaknesses in terms of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Full insight requires full analysis; KPIs are just a shortcut.
Collecting quantitative data is important, but don’t skip the opportunities to collect qualitative data along the way as well. For example,
Breaking Down Strategic Leadership Assessment - The Best Path Forward for Growth
In order to get the growth needed to stay competitive, it's time to go back to the drawing board. What does strategic leadership assessment look like in action? Well, the important point is that it begins with realizing the end goal: you're getting insight into an individual's makeup and identifying what their true strengths and weaknesses are. We're going back to the 3D Leadership model as one of the key foundational points of this plan.
Staying the Course
Motivation is a big topic in the business world because we're used to watching people quit. Why do people quit before they've reached the finish line? Sometimes it's a matter of not being able to visualize the end. Or perhaps it's not having enough milestones to reflect upon as they move deeper into their journey. Not everyone will finish their leadership development plan, or approach it with enthusiasm.
Reassurance isn't a bad thing, and it can help bolster morale to the point where employees buy back in. For entry-level employees, leadership development can feel impossible because they're starting their journey with a lot to cover. For the more seasoned leader, development often takes a "been there, done that" feeling.
Dive Deeper Into Refinement With Developing World Class Leaders: The Ultimate Guide to Leadership Development
Digging into the roots of better leadership development isn’t an easy journey. Yet it is absolutely essential for companies of all sizes.
Did you miss the deep dive on assessments? Check out the Strategic View of Hiring podcast episode, Exploring the World of Assessments.
Check out the book store and order a copy of Developing World Class Leaders: The Ultimate Guide to Leadership Development today.
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