In these days of frantic activity and whirlwinds of change, many management teams are so caught up working in their team they invest little to no time working on their team effectiveness. As the daily flurry of e-mails, meetings, and firefighting overloads everyone, most teams scramble to respond to all the demands coming at them.
The classic and extensive studies of manager effectiveness by leadership and management professors Heike Bruch and Sumantra Ghoshal captured in “Beware the Busy Manager” and “Reclaim Your Job” show that “90% of managers waste time and fritter away their productivity by grappling with an endless list of demands from others.” Most managers bring this same crazy-busy behavior into the teams they lead or belong to.
Teams that break the vicious cycle of we-don’t-have-time-to-learn-how-to-be-more-effective-so-our-diminishing-effectiveness-sucks-away-more-of-our-time do so by periodically stepping back. These peak performance teams regularly assess what’s working, not working, and refocusing on new things to work on.
Through facilitating hundreds of management team retreats we’ve evolved the following fourteen-point team check up:
Does Your Team:
- Spend most time leading (making it happen), occasionally following (watching it happen), and very little wallowing (complaining about what happened)?
- Have the right balance of focus on technical expertise/technology, management (processes/systems), and leadership (customers and staff)?
- Regularly reset priorities and plans against a clear, compelling, and shared picture of your preferred future?
- Actively guide your individual and collective leadership behaviors with 3 – 5 core values?
- Share a deep sense of purpose with strong emotional connections that leads from the heart?
- Focus on what you directly control and can influence while letting go of what you can’t control?
- Openly discuss, debate, and hold courageous conversations in an atmosphere of trust and transparency?
- Engage passionate commitment from your team/organizational members?
- Build team/organizational spirit, powerful pride, and a deep sense of meaning?
- Invest heavily in coaching and developing each other and team/organization members?
- Actively look for and reduce or remove issues that block or drain team or organizational energy?
- Serve the servers, producers, and other frontline staff who deliver your services or build your products?
- Foster high levels of recognition, celebration, and appreciation?
- Tame The E-Beast by actively reducing information and technology overload and increasing two-way communications?
This framework has grown out of my last few books and work on leadership and culture development with dozens of management teams in a variety of public and private sector organizations. You can check out examples of in-house workshop topics areas here.
I hope you and your management team get off the frantic tread mill for a few days of R & R – reflection and renewal!