Managing people is a constantly evolving task for any leader, whether you work with just 2 people or 2,000. I’ve not yet met anyone responsible for a group who does not at sometime feel frustration, confusion, regret or irritation. If managing people was so easy, every business would be full of high functioning teams. Equally it is not all bad; it is a fantastic feeling for a leader to see their colleagues develop, flourish and fulfil their potential. Great leaders know how to cultivate the ability of those around them to lead and grow.
Some years ago, I learnt 4 words that can guide a leader to transform a team of people; the words are:
I came across these words in a paper outlining research into children’s behaviour. Amy Lew and Betty Lou Bettner (1996) identified the four keys to creating good teams. Given that adults are essentially big children, I figured that the words should work equally as well in the working environment. These 4 words provide a guide to how you should act and also judge your team’s performance:
Capable. Ask yourself, does your team possess the skills, knowledge and experience needed to fulfil the tasks asked of them? If they don’t, how can you instil the necessary missing pieces to help the team? Not doing this will simply create the seeds of frustration within your colleagues.
Connected. Do you see and hear people in your team who know that they belong? Do they understand the purpose of their work or the context of your organisation? Can they confidently articulate the same mission? If not, you can respond by identifying the right way to give / create clear direction.
Count. How do your team members know they matter? If you are responsible for them, you need to demonstrate that they are of value. This will be appropriate to your business context but, for instance, how do your words, emails, memos and instructions appear to the team? If, as the leader, your input is not enhancing their sense of worth what will your clients, customers and colleagues be seeing in your team’s actions?
Courage. Hopefully, life or death situations are not part of your team’s everyday existence but they will still need courage. How can you tell if they are being brave? Well, when was the last time someone constructively questioned your decisions or plans? Do you see individual members put the good of the team before their own needs? Your answer to these types of questions demonstrates the courage you are fostering in the team.
This is why the 4 words are crucial to creating a great team. As a leader, you have a responsibility to create the right conditions for your teams to flourish, to facilitate their success. Your judgement of a team’s performance, as leader, cannot be detached from your responsibility to act appropriately. Groups of people are by their very nature dynamic entities, so your reflections will evolve and adapt as your team or teams do too. However, by asking how a team is Capable, Connected, Counted and Courageous; you can understand when to intervene to create a great team and when to step back to keep a great team.
If the answers to these 4 words are still not clear to you, then ask for support. My colleagues and I enjoy sharing ideas to clarify the potential of a team and set a plan for their success