Mindful Leaders know the Team.
If you’re a leader I just want to challenge you for a moment, how well do you know your team? Do you know what makes them tick? What are their aspirations? What really motivates them? If we don't know our team well, then we will tend towards micromanagement. “I love to be micromanaged” said nobody ever. If we're not mindful of an individual’s agenda will end up with low engagement, and therefore low productivity. But, if we can connect with those around us, in a way that is authentic, and releases them into their passions and their desires, aligned to their talents we will create engagement and high productivity. Plus, you get to have a bit more fun in a more positive environment, whilst achieving a better commercial outcome. It's about leveraging the latent potential and collective experience of your team and growing commitment. "Individual commitment to a group effort; that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work." According to Vince Lombardi.
Every individual has particular needs and aspirations. This may be due to the season in their life, their personality, or just pure and simple how they're wired. Not everyone is driven by the same motivations that you and I have. Assuming all people want to make more money , grow the organisation, or progress in their careers, is just that, an assumption. Some people just want to turn up and do a good job and go home. And that's OK. Others would work harder and faster given a more flexible work environment. Still others may well be motivated due to their season of life and their predisposition to increasing their income. If you know these individual needs, you can create an environment where they can be realised. Flexibility for some, greater opportunity for others.
An opportunity to earn more given an agreed outcome, is also a great motivator, but only for some. But know this, you won't know until you ask. So ask. If we treat each individual, as an individual, and don't dumb things down to the lowest common denominator, we get a better team full of motivated individuals.
I think a lot of leaders, particularly ones who have been doing it for a while, are pretty good at leading the individual, one on one. I do see a lack though of putting people in a room and building the whole team, not just a group of individuals. A great team made up of average individuals, will always beat an average team made up of great individuals. There is real value, lots of value, between rolls. Getting your team together regularly, allowing them to talk to the challenges and opportunities they see in their individual roles, and giving them access and visibility to the challenges and opportunities faced by others, creates a much more cohesive whole. It's actually one of the challenges we face with a more remote workforce. Regardless of location or the media through which we connect, connect we must; if we are to see potential realised.
My undergraduate degree was in Zoology, yes, it’s a long story but none the less true. I was quite fascinated by the
Portuguese Man o’War (Physalia physalis) or the Blue Bottle as it’s sometimes known. It looks very much like a jellyfish and yet it's not a jellyfish. Despite its appearance, the Portuguese Man o' War differs from single organisms like jellyfish as they are siphonophores, a colonial organism made up of many specialized, though genetically distinct, parts called zooids. These ‘zooids’ are attached to one another and are physiologically integrated to such an extent that they cannot survive independently. The assemblage of zooids works together to function as an individual animal. In my view this is the ultimate expression of community; totally dependent, only functional as a cohesive whole. Image if our organisations were a bit more like that? How well would we function with that level of commitment, purpose and engagement? As Ken Blanchard opined "None of us is as smart as all of us."