In another post, (this one) I shared about a challenge I had in unlocking potential from some team members. The short of it, is that I didn’t realise they were failing to translate what a change in strategy at an enterprise level, practically meant for them. They understood the the enterprise was headed but failed to contextualize it to particular instances.
In retrospect I see that as a one of the sources of frustration they sometimes experienced was a result of not knowing what to do in their areas of responsibility. Like me, they were clueless. “Why were they so frustrated and why couldn’t I get them to go full throttle?”
A significant part of leading is helping team translate implications for areas of their responsibility. I’ll explore how we could help team members translate implications for for areas of their responsibility.
Like, language and attention, information is critical leadership currency. What leaders and teams don’t know not only disempowers them, but also compromises mission. A lack of information flow is like a blood steam with no nutrients for the body.
Information empowers and gives freedom to act. Leaders need to communicate strategic changes. There’s no strategic decision that is too small to change.
“What does this mean for your diary in the next three months?” is the kind of question that can help assess team members’ understanding of responsibility, in context. It causes team members to intentionally focus, reducing energy leak.
Team members must feel free to approach leaders and clarify. Submitting proposals or check-ins are helpful, in that corrections can be done early.
Teams and leaders must make use of chairs and share in an open platform or forum about what they are or will be focused on in the near future.
For leaders, they can use language like, “This is how your department can contribute…” or “Your work matters here because…” etc.
Leaders need to share as much information as they can. Where there is silence, much can be constructed to the detriment of mission. Dialogue is essential to make sure that everyone understands and embraces their part in grander scheme of things.
Be sure that everyone understands their contribution (or what it ought to be).
image: Sebastiaan ter Burg