As leaders, you've all experienced it: the team is rolling along just fine, when suddenly, it happens. During a meeting, you sense a subtle, almost imperceptible rumble move through the team. Then a week later, during another team meeting, you're sure you feel a rumble. Yet, your team members don't appear to have felt a thing. So, you do nothing. However, a few weeks later, the project is in jeopardy, team members are battling one another, and everyone is blaming you. What happened?
What happened was you failed to do your job as the team leader. You failed to act upon the subtle signs your team was sending you. You failed to create an environment where your team members could air their concerns with the project, one another, and your leadership. You failed to act upon the subtle rumblings of your team's discontent. As a result, your team seems to have exploded and you have the project problems you do. So now, what do you do to calm the rumblings?
- First - Call the team together and apologize for not doing your job.
- Second - Share with them that you had felt the rumblings yet you failed to acknowledge them.
- Third - Create a forum for them and you to be honest with each other so that all of you can get the project back on track. If you haven't yet created team rules - do so. If you have team rules - use them. The team rules will provide the objective guidelines of behavior to ensure the project's interests are at stake and no one team member's interests are over-taking the team.
- Fourth - Ask each member to clarify the rumblings, to objectively share his or her concerns with the project's deliverables, timelines, and resources.
- Fifth -Ask the team members to objectively and factually share their concerns with each other and you on such things as:
- Specifically, what caused the problems and why?
- Specifically, how would they have preferred to receive team member or team leader input and why?
- Specifically, what changes would be helpful in the way the team meets, shares information, and works together and why?
- Sixth - Ask the members, what specifically they need from each other and you, to get back on track?
When you do your job so your team can do theirs, you prevent the explosions. So the next time you sense a rumble, do your job. Calm the rumbles. Calm your team.
When you do your job and calm the rumblings immediately, you're in a better position to keep your team and the project on track.
Copyright MMVII - Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com +1.717.597.8890
Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching.