Have you come away from a team meeting confident that everyone is on board and ready to go? This is exactly what you needed in order to move the initiative forward.
But later, when you call people to action, you get pushback. They argue about time or resources. Somebody points to the executive down the hall.
“What about Jim?” they chide. “He ought to step up – he doesn’t have half the workload we do!”
How do you avoid arriving at this place? What can you do to make sure everyone is aligned and engaged?
Here are three steps to take so you can get your team on board from the get-go:
Create psychological safety.
Your people need to know that, within the team, it is safe to take a risky stance. Such safety supports productive disagreement. Psychological safety requires that your team develop high trust with one another. How much does your team trust one another? For more on this, get the downloadable infographic below.
DO OTHERS REALLY TRUST YOU?
Learn the two vital parts to trust and how they can help you become a more highly effective leader.
GET THE INFOGRAPHIC
Every human being comes equipped with assumptions. These are a result of our life experiences.
Is it summertime? The sky should be blue.
Is it dinner time? People should be getting hungry.
Some assumptions are not dangerous, and they help to guide us with everyday decisions. On the other hand, some assumptions can interfere with reaching consensus and alignment on important issues.
How can you ferret these out before they get in the way?
When your team meets, present the problem or initiative. Then, before they can ask questions or present any opinions, ask them what assumptions they will use in order to work together on this.
Are they assuming this will require…
- Redirecting the workforce?
- Additional budget considerations?
- That their role will be modified in some way?
What other assumptions will they have?
Bring these to the surface and ask your team members to put these aside as you work. They may not be factors, and you will be able to address concerns more quickly as you move through the discussion.
Team members may feel agreeable during the discussion. However, some may not have thought things through in such a way that it reveals hidden roadblocks.
Get creative to stir things up. Consider taking discussions about new initiatives off-site. Present your idea as a hypothetical one and have them develop it as a team exercise.
Now, have them identify problems and work together to solve these.
After you have laid this foundation of collaboration, ask them to make it real, and talk about what it will take for the team to implement this. Again, have them problem-solve together.
Your team can begin to flex and increase its ability to perform at levels most will never experience.
I look forward to hearing how this works for you.
For more on psychological safety, see Amy Edmondson’s article, “Psychological Safety and Learning Behavior in Work Teams”, Administrative Science Quarterly; Jun 1999; 44, 2.
Patti Cotton helps executives optimize their effectiveness in leading self, others, and the enterprise. Her areas of focus include confidence, leadership style, executive presence, effective communication, succession planning, and masterful execution. With over 25 years of leadership experience, both stateside and abroad, Patti works with individuals, teams, and organizations across industries, providing executive consulting, leadership development, succession planning, change management, and conflict resolution. She is also an experienced Fortune 500 speaker. For more information on how Patti Cotton can help you and your organization, click here.