Don't Flip Off Your Team (Part 1)

By Barry Pruitt

dateSun, May 11, 2014 @ 12:00 PM


"The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it."

~Theodore Roosevelt

I recently heard the plea of a human resource professional, “we need to make sure that we are developing our team, our people.” Employee engagement in today’s workspace is dropping at an alarming rate, a trend that I’ve witnessed damage a wide variety of organizations. Entrepreneurs and successful leaders can’t afford this trend. There are many methods and models for fostering a cohesive, effective team and any of them could work well in People Growth - High Performance Teamsyour organization – but not choosing an approach, or not implementing one, relegates your team to the has-beens. Forbes cites research that indicates up to four out of ten workers (globally) are not fully engaged in their day-to-day work.   

Does this mean your employees and team members aren't fulfilling their roles and performing their day-to-day duties? Maybe not. You may have evidence that you’re better than average and only two out of ten workers are not fully engaged. The question is, “can you afford it?” The statistics indicate those not giving 100% are disengaged because they don't have an emotional connection to the work they do. This is where personal relationships, the alignment of your One Page Strategic Plan, and the disciplines explained in the Rhythm book can help.

Contrary to the (somewhat) common myth in human resource professional circles … you can’t buy the solution. You can’t expect an increase in pay to increase engagement or alignment. Many times your team members will respond better to opportunities for involvement with others and a better understanding of the meaning for their work. For example, in geographically dispersed teams, I’ve seen something as simple as online meeting tools (with video) allow implementation of regular huddles and weekly meetings. The discipline, visual connections, and “face-to-face” conversations help resolve this lack of engagement quickly.

Perhaps you have tried a few theories and have come up with your own "teamwork best practices" that are particularly helpful for you and your team members. Yet, if you do any one of them wrong you could be flipping off the switch of real teamwork. This alone is reason enough to implement an employee engagement survey or employee net promoter score. 

Regardless of the steps you use to facilitate a successfully engaged team, one trait that crosses all teamwork methods is employee involvement. If you can effectively include the team at each step of the way in your strategy, planning, and execution (what we call Think-Plan-Do), you will better retain employees - and foster an environment that motivates participants to contribute and invest in the cause. Rhythm software is built for employee involvement, alignment, accountability, and communication — and you should build your systems and processes for the same. 

The how of involving team members

then becomes the most challenging part of the process; once you get them involved, your team and company will gain strength. Many old-school leaders think that workers just entering the workforce need to be coddled, that they have received awards for just showing up, accolades for simply doing their job. And many entrepreneurs resent this. Without attempting to answer this question (or solve a problem that can be as individual as people are), you should understand that this leadership attitude is a sure way to flip off your team. The right Rhythm of recognition can do the opposite and motivate team members from Millennials to Boomers.

Successful employee involvement

comes from following a continuum that leads to decreased influence by you, the leader, and increased influence and decision-making power by the team members. This is the foundation for accountability and can be enhanced through daily huddles, and weekly and monthly meetings.  

First, your senior team must choose priorities for the quarter in alignment with your annual goals and 3-5 year initiatives. Then, you must communicate and gain buy-in from the team. The supervisor then announces it to staff, providing complete direction. Gain commitment from team members by "selling" the positive aspects of the plan tied to a larger vision (quarter, annual, or 3-5 year plans).

Stop flipping off your team and begin implementing the right Rhythms! In Part Two of this post I’ll share some recent research on how to Flip ON Your Team’s Power.

I look forward to your comments below on approaches and successes to stop flipping off your team – more power to you and your team, Barry.  


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Barry Pruitt


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