A successful organization constantly rides the line between change and stasis. Growth cannot occur without new ideas, but radical shifts also threaten to collapse the entire structure, especially when there’s tension among team members.
Change brings new interpersonal and leadership challenges. When a new policy is proposed or restructuring is in order, it’s imperative that leaders and staff members come to a sincere agreement and work together to enact such a change.
This voluntary collaboration is known as “buy-in” because individuals must truly buy into and support an idea to help bring it to fruition. Simply put, more buy-in leads to more success.
How does one create buy-in?
In a perfect world, every member of an organization would agree on what’s best. This would eliminate the need to create buy-in because everyone would already be a willing proponent for change in their growing company.
However, the real world relies on proper team management and strategic leadership, which involves taking several different perspectives into account and synthesizing them into an optimal solution. To create buy-in, then, leaders must effectively communicate with each individual team member.
What does this communication entail? First, it involves honesty and openness. Leaders must make it clear why they support change, based on the organization’s culture and values. Team members shouldn’t feel afraid to try new things and suggest changes because it feels that everyone is working together toward a shared goal.
By framing it this way, more skeptical team members can better see how this potential shift can benefit the company’s overall vision or mission. Leaders must stay open to feedback about the process, welcoming concerns and answering questions along the way. Any idea worth buying into should be easily defended against such criticism.
This communication might also require some give and take. You can’t expect every idea to strike the hearts and minds of everyone. There may be a period of negotiation that includes active listening, brainstorming, strategic thinking, and compromise. As long as this flow of communication is positive and fits within the company culture, these negotiations can result in the best possible outcome for everyone.
creating buy-in at every level
The term “buy-in” often turns our minds to investments. In the stock market, buying in early will yield the highest profits, as long as the stock becomes more valuable over time. This principle also applies to buying into ideas in an organization.
As a team manager, you want your team to buy into potential changes at every level. If the idea is valuable, this will benefit everyone. As a team participant, you also want others to have buy-in because it helps teamwork flow more smoothly as you move toward accomplishing the group’s and company’s goals.
The key here, of course, is to enhance the value of this change over time. This happens in a couple of ways. First, decisions made by a team tend to hold more value than decisions made by a single person. Consider the three types of decision-making: Command, consult, and consensus.
There is a time and place for each of them, based on the decision that needs to be made and the amount of time you have to make the decision. Knowing which applies to each situation that arises is a skill of strategic leadership. Below, we’ll discuss each type of decision-making in more detail.
Command, Consult, and Consensus Decisions
A command decision is made solely by the decision-maker without input from the team. It A consult decision is made by the decision-maker but includes input from others. This takes a moderate amount of time within which there is some level of give-and-take, and this approach ultimately results in a moderate level of buy-in.
A consensus decision is made entirely by the group. It has the highest level of buy-in, but it also takes the most time as the group pursues the full extent of the concept that “two heads are better than one.” Consensus decisions sometimes require a laborious process of building buy-in and working together as a team.
Among these three types of decision-making, consensus decisions hold the most value because they affect everyone involved. Each team member feels personally invested and has a stake in the success or failure of the idea.
Remember, while the real dollars-and-cents value of a decision matters, so does perceived value. When staff members buy into a change at every level, the perceived value of said change increases. Of course, an organization must be careful to not allow this perceived value to run away from the real value of an idea, as this can lead to disaster.
Company Structural Considerations for Building Buy-in
Buy-in isn’t something that happens magically. It takes a commitment to work together cohesively and allot the resources required to thoughtfully share feedback and develop action plans.
During any type of decision-making process, it’s vital to have a strong operating system in place to provide structure and direction for the plan to come together. This involves utilizing processes like strategic planning, succession planning, and retaining the top talent it takes to maintain consistency in leadership over the long term.
In general, the sooner team leaders can build buy-in for a particular change, the better. But first, leaders must approach their team with honesty, focus, a solid argument, and a willingness to listen. If they do this, they’ll more easily create buy-in at every level of the process.
The Accelerate Leadership Program
As you can see, buy-in is an essential part of running a successful company. Leadership Resources aims to enhance the leadership qualities of communication and teamwork in order to create more buy-in for your organization and set the stage for success.
Any company looking to boost buy-in among its employees and leaders can do it through leadership development coaching. Companies looking to have meaningful, lasting guidance in support of developing leaders should invest in coaching and development programs as opposed to training programs.
Consider the Accelerate Leadership Program (ALP), which helps participants expand their leadership confidence and develop a talent for building buy-in. ALP uses a proven process that involves leadership coaching, peer interactions, educational software, and skill-building on topics like emotional intelligence, interpersonal interactions, and honing one’s personal leadership style.
At Leadership Resources, we help companies identify emerging leaders and nurture emotionally intelligent leadership that builds buy-in. When your company needs to implement an effective leadership development plan, we’re here to provide expert guidance and support.Read More
Though there is certainly no shortage of “Help Wanted” signs across the U.S. right now, many businesses are struggling to welcome new people aboard. The past two years have been challenging for employees and business leaders alike, and there’s no telling what the future will hold. Those in charge of team management may find themselves in a bind these days – even if they’re overseeing a solid team, it might lack in size. Though a smaller group can actually make team management easier, it can also limit productivity and growth. With that in mind, what can management teams do to prepare for the future when it’s been difficult to hire new team members? Let’s discuss.
How to Prepare for the Difficulty of Hiring New Team Members
Re-Establish Your Mission and Goals
As the world slowly returns to normalcy, there’s perhaps never been a better time to take a step back and re-evaluate your business’s and team’s priorities. Balancing multiple projects while short-staffed is never easy, but some projects are bound to be more essential than others. Consider whether and how your organization’s mission and goals may have changed since last year (and the year before that, etc.) – you might find that certain roles no longer need to be filled or that other roles can evolve, combine, and so on. Indeed, managing a smaller team might help you prioritize and focus on the most pressing matters that will propel your business forward. And when it becomes easier to recruit new team members once more, you’ll have a stronger grasp on the types of people you need and what to expect from them.
Focus on Developing Current Employees
Plenty of value can be derived from hiring new people. That said, you don’t want to bring new people on board simply for the sake of it. After all, recruitment is costly, and retention is vital. In many cases, the person you need to fill a new, important role is right in front of you – at least, they have the potential to grow into said role. As such, it’s equally as important to engage in leadership development as it is to seek out new team members externally. Employees with leadership potential will want to find avenues for growth, and it’s essential to provide them with these opportunities to keep them around. Of course, promoting an employee internally can leave a lower-level position unoccupied, so it’s crucial to prepare for these outcomes in advance (i.e., succession planning). Still, adding a member to your leadership team is a key way to strengthen your organization from the inside. In fact, doing so may help you hire new team members in the future.
Rethink Your Hiring Process
Some things are simply out of our control, such as the current pandemic and its economic fallout. That said, you can still control how you approach recruitment for your business. Sure, your hiring team can’t magically change the way things have been for the past two years, but they can find new, creative ways to find the best people available and encourage them to apply. You might open your doors to a wider pool of candidates, improve and expand your employer outreach campaigns, create and advertise more remote work positions, establish new incentives for applicants, and so on. Not every initiative will succeed, but taking the time to reconfigure your hiring processes can benefit your business in the long run.
At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease obstacles and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.Read More
The history of the American workplace is complex but largely defined by a push toward better conditions, increased benefits, fairer wages, and more diverse and inclusive environments. Indeed, diversity education entered the U.S. workplace in the 1960s alongside the burgeoning civil rights movement, gradually developing into more rigorous training programs in the ‘80s and ‘90s. While these early days of diversity training primarily focused on issues of race, these programs began to expand to consider other identities such as gender, sexual orientation, ethnic/religious background, class, and more. Today, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives have become three pillars of the modern American workplace, though some companies have done a better job incorporating DEI than others.
More than a buzzword, DEI has proven to yield practical benefits to businesses that prioritize these matters; a 2018 whitepaper by Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose (CECP) entitled “Diversity & Inclusion in Corporate Social Engagement” shows that these organizations have been able to capture new markets with a success rate that’s about 70% higher than their competitors. Of course, these advantages don’t appear out of thin air. Providing your business with the benefits that DEI has to offer begins with committed, competent leadership. While we’ve discussed the importance of leadership training many times before, let’s now go over how diversity, inclusion, and equity should inform leaders in your organization and how DEI can change leadership behaviors for the better.
How to Lead a Diverse Team
Recognizing the Advantages of Diverse Viewpoints
A true commitment to diversity in your workplace is about gathering a multitude of perspectives, especially from individuals and groups that haven’t been given as much of a chance in the past. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t continue hiring the most qualified people, but rather broaden your scope and seek those who can bring new ideas and strengths to the table. Empathy is the bridge between diversity and inclusion. Leaders who actively cultivate diversity quickly realize how much doing so benefits their organization as a whole.
Developing intercultural competence contributes to a richer company culture by inviting employees and leaders to complement the workplace culture rather than assimilate to an existing, rigid one. In this way, employees and leaders are constantly learning new things and challenging themselves. In other words, diversity isn’t about ticking a box or paying lip service to “tolerance” — it’s about stimulating a more modern, creative, and competitive work environment.
Approaching Employees with Empathy
The term “equity” has many definitions and is often conflated with the related but distinct term “equality.” In this context, equity is about acknowledging that individuals can come from very different places in terms of education level, class, cultural background, lived experiences, and so on. In other words, we’re not all starting on a level playing field. While these differences inform our character and ambitions, business leaders should do their best to recognize the obstacles and opportunities that derive from these deviations with the goal of establishing a more equitable work environment.
Empathy is at the root of this leadership growth. The essence of empathy, in the context of equity, is the practice of The Platinum Rule: “Do unto others as they would want done to them.” Emotionally intelligent leaders are willing and able to identify the unique struggles of their employees by maintaining strong lines of communication. In doing so, you can provide the right opportunities for the right people, lifting everyone up to their highest potential and ultimately achieving greater equity across the board.
Empowering Employee Participation Across the Board
An inclusive workplace is one where every employee feels comfortable expressing their ideas and opinions without fear of judgment for punishment (so long as individuals aren’t intentionally saying or doing things that harm others). Leaders are largely responsible for cultivating this type of environment by actively engaging with every team member, asking questions, promoting openness, mitigating conflict and bias, and so on. This approach to team management will result in greater participation, which in turn leads to innovation (much in the same way that diversity does).
DEI Makes for More Adaptive, Effective Leaders
The workplace is always evolving, and leaders must evolve with it. As diversity, equity, and inclusion practices become more prominent and beneficial, they must become more of a focus in leadership development programs. At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.Read More
One year ago, when COVID-19 was just starting to acquire its pandemic status, few people could have anticipated what the following months would have in store. The early toilet paper shortages and panic buying seem somewhat quaint compared to the havoc wrought on individuals, families, and businesses between then and now. With effective vaccines and rapid distribution on the way, there is now a light at the end of this tunnel. That said, even when the pandemic ends, the world will have to deal with its consequences for many years to come.
Business leaders are already looking ahead to what the future may hold while battling the burnout that has plagued everyone, from students, workers, leaders, and owners alike. As we’ve discussed before, the stress of leadership can be daunting enough to deal with during normal times, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated this pressure. Businesses everywhere have had to lay off or furlough employees, suddenly switch to remote work protocols, reduce hours and customer capacity, adjust their supply chain, implement intensive cleaning and disinfection protocols, and so on. One year in, people everywhere are on their last legs, and leaders are no exception.
How to Lead Your People if They’re Burnt Out from COVID-19
Prioritize Self-Care and Stress Management
When challenging times arise and work piles up, it’s easy to fall into the trap of pushing yourself past your limits to keep up with deadlines. You might be able to go on this way for a little while, but eventually, your work will suffer — more importantly, so will your mental and physical health. This common situation describes burnout, and it can take a long time to reignite the flame. It’s better to prevent that proverbial flame from burning out in the first place by maintaining its heat and oxygen through self-care. In our previous blog on managing leadership stress, we discussed key ways to take care of your overall well-being, such as getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, practicing mindfulness (i.e. meditation, yoga), staying hydrated, maintaining a healthy diet, and taking breaks for enjoyment and relaxation when needed. Encouraging your employees to do the same by sharing your experience with these stress-relieving techniques is key for preventing (or at least mitigating) COVID burnout in your workplace. When everyone feels motivated to take care of themselves first and foremost, they will be better equipped to handle the challenges before them.
Keep on Communicating
We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: communication is one of the most important leadership qualities there is. And during COVID-19, strong communication has never been so crucial. At the most basic level, your people should be regularly informed about how the business is navigating COVID-related challenges. Any updates and changes must be clearly delivered, and everyone should feel free to ask questions and voice their concerns. Considering the nature of this pandemic, you may need to convey these messages via virtual meetings, emails, and other means. To keep burnout at bay, your communication style should be steeped in empathy — if you’re feeling burnt out, odds are your peers, partners, and employees are, too. Use your emotional intelligence to understand the shared and unique challenges faced by others to enhance your organization’s sense of community. Hosting virtual and community events will help you maintain and improve your company culture so everyone feels connected and valued.
Simplify Your Processes
If anything good has come from COVID-19, it’s that this pandemic has revealed what matters most, both in terms of everyday life and in business. While the initial shock of COVID sent many businesses into a frenzy, many that have been able to recover have gradually adjusted their priorities and trimmed the fat in key areas. Simplifying your processes by streamlining tasks, delegation, and your broader vision can reduce the risk of burnout and ultimately reshape your business in positive ways. You might, for instance, realize that remote work is a powerful tool for team management and that it greatly reduces overhead costs associated with rent, energy, commuting, etc. Every business and employee is different, of course — while some might appreciate the freedom of working from home, others might require more structure and crave in-person encounters. How you decide to adjust and simplify your processes during this latter portion of COVID-19 and afterward will depend on what you learn during this time. The key is paying attention to what your people are feeling and how it’s affecting your bottom line.
Keep the Big Picture in View
As we stated earlier, the implications of COVID-19 will carry on far beyond its official conclusion, contributing to leadership stress and potential burnout. As such, you must view this situation as a marathon rather than a sprint. The day-to-day doings of your business matter, but thinking too small and short-term can cloud your judgment and impede your view of the future. Of course, looking too far ahead can induce plenty of stress in its own right. To avoid burning out in either sense, you want to achieve a balance between short- and long-term thinking, where the way you handle things each and every day is informed by where and how you wish to steer your team and enterprise. In order to accomplish this, you must focus on becoming more adaptable and resilient, regularly taking stock of what is and isn’t working so you can fine-tune your business for the future.
Providing strong leadership in times of stress and change is no small feat, but it’s essential for alleviating burnout in yourself and your team. Taking care of your own well-being, maintaining emotionally-intelligent communication, simplifying your operations based on necessary changes, and implementing long-term thinking will allow you to lead your organization to a brighter future despite these challenging times.
At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.
Strong leadership and strong communication are inextricably linked — you simply cannot have one without the other. The best leaders maintain a clear line of communication with their peers, partners, employees, and customers. In doing so, these leaders develop a deeper understanding of relevant situations, issues, shortcomings, and opportunities while delivering clear feedback and instruction that steers the ship in a purposeful direction. Let’s dive deeper into why communication is so crucial in leadership.
What Are the Benefits of Good Communication?
Communication Keeps People on the Same Page
Team management is a challenge for businesses of all sizes. Whether a team consists of a few people or dozens of individuals, leaders with strong communication skills are the glue that holds said team together through thick and thin. It’s worth noting that proper communication isn’t a one-way street, either. Leaders must be equally adept at delivering instructions and receiving feedback from team members in order to manage their team optimally. This reciprocity allows leaders to earn the respect and engagement of their employees and make informed decisions that garner maximum buy-in.
Communication Is Key to Understanding Problems
The ability to listen is one of the most important qualities of a good leader, and, as previously mentioned, half of the communication equation. If you fail to hear or comprehend the concerns of those within your organization, the smallest issues can grow into a rot that’s more and more difficult to expel over time. The best leaders actively check in with their people to uncover any nascent problems so they can resolve them as quickly and effectively as possible. New issues are still bound to arise — the key is getting ahead of them with masterful communication rather than ignoring them or missing them entirely.
Communication Drives Positive Change
The whole point of understanding problems in your organization is to discover weak points that you can fix and then make various adjustments that push your company in a better direction. In this way, then, strong leadership communication skills are the driving force behind constructive change. Your organization will struggle to grow or improve if its leaders don’t properly respond to problems and opportunities when they arise.
Communication Helps Retain Top Talent
In recent posts, we’ve discussed the importance of employee retention, especially when it comes to keeping top talent in your organization. While these retention efforts are multi-faceted, leadership communication remains at the heart of them. Those with the most potential in your company may seek other opportunities if they don’t feel like their ideas are being heard and/or if they don’t feel properly compensated for their contributions. In order to keep these valuable people around, leaders must help them grow with the organization — this might mean promoting them into new positions, guiding their own leadership development, giving them appropriate raises, and so on. Whatever the case, these decisions must be based on the mutual needs of these individuals and your company, which can only be uncovered through powerful communication.
Leaders who display strong communication keep their people on the same page, understand and resolve issues before they fester, improve their operations and culture, and retain the very best people to keep this cycle going. At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.Read More
Even pre-pandemic, leaders knew that each employee has different needs, strengths, and weaknesses. Now, leaders are tasked with how to manage employee schedules when the employee is working at home, or if that employee is working at home with children who are learning from home. Some employees are hoping to get back into the office, while others may resent the fact that they are being asked to go back during a pandemic. No matter what issues have risen since the pandemic, the leader must make a plan to offer fair, empathetic, and effective team management.
How to Lead Your Team
What Experts Say
When employees are scattered remotely, or some are remote and some are back in the office, a number of new issues arise. Some employees who are in the office may start taking charge of projects that weren’t assigned solely to them, or start becoming resentful that they had to come back in while others remained remote. This can create division, making employees pick sides of their peers. Though this may not be new to some offices, there are likely more issues exacerbating this. Linda Hill, professor at Harvard Business School says to ask yourself, “What is the experience my employees are having at work, and how can I empower them to do the best they can?” The best way to manage employees when you notice new or existing issues is to offer support.
How to Truly Support Your Employees
The role in management for employee development is often linked to the leader’s capability to support with empathy while managing a productive team. Right now, there will be several variables to work around. Like you, they are dealing with a global crisis and an unstable economy. Some are dealing with small children and out-of-work partners. The list goes on, but leaders must offer effective team management, empathy, and support, if they want business to run as usual.
One idea experts, like Hill, recommend is offering regular one-on-one check-ins with everyone, whether they’re in the office or not. Ask them to be honest about their struggles and make sure they know what the priorities are and what can wait. Hill suggests leaders use this time to explain to the employee what is on the agenda and how the employee is going to achieve their goals. Some employees may need to change hours. Some may desire a strict schedule. The leader may need to manage employee schedules differently and make compromises for the time being. Either way, they must ensure the employee knows that during this time, it’s ok to ask for these concessions.
Remain Inclusive and Empathetic
One of the biggest mistakes a leader can make is to allow employees to start, whether intentionally or not, excluding remote workers. A quick suggestion of ensuring all team members get on a Zoom call, or something of the sort, to discuss how to manage a project together is a great way to handle this situation. Additionally, don’t allow the assumption to float around the workplace that those in the office are more productive than those who are remote. Offer a safe place to vent frustrations while remaining hopeful and productive, but don’t encourage unfair treatment or gossip between employees.
You must also show fairness among your employees. So, even if your star employee is making it known that their being in the office makes them a more productive person than an employee who annoys you, you must stop this toxic behavior of the star employee immediately while remaining empathetic to why they’d feel that way. This is a time unlike any other, so some employees may not know how to handle it, but offering an all-inclusive workplace is a positive step in the right direction toward excellent productivity.
The last thing you want to do is create an environment where employees are burnt out, whether they’re at home or in the office. At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.Read More
A workplace is more than just a collection of walls, chairs, desks, and employees. It’s an environment where several individuals must cooperate and focus on a number of tasks each day. The way your workplace is organized in large part determines how your staff members feel, how hard they work, and how they get along with one another. In other words, your office should be designed to improve and optimize your company’s unique workplace culture.
We’re all familiar with the proverbial office with sequestered cubicles and low ceilings. And while many work environments have inherited and maintained this design, plenty of modern offices have done away with the barriers and opened right up. Are these open floorplans better than cubes, though? Let’s run down the pros and cons of both set-ups and see if we can determine a winner.
Should You Get an Open Floor Plan or Cubicles?
Our modern sensibilities might shudder at the thought of cubicles. But that drab image in our heads is usually not representative of the real thing. Cubicles can range in size, shape, and design.
- Personal(ized) Space: Employees who work in an office spend a lot of their time there. Many of them enjoy having some space where they can put up photographs, artwork, and knick-knacks to make it their own. On top of that, most people benefit from some personal space where they can get away from others every now and then.
- Limits Distractions: Cubicles are often a great way to reduce performance management issues caused by visual or auditory distractions. Their walls keep such unwanted stimuli out of sight and mind. This is especially important for jobs and roles that require serious focus or privacy.
- Detrimental to Teamwork: Cubicles might not be the best option for a team-driven business. These partitions keep everyone in their own little bubble for much of the day. Leaders may struggle with team management as a result.
- Less Accountability: These enclosures may also tempt some employees to shirk some of their responsibilities. In this regard, cubicles might not make for the most effective performance management, even if they also encourage focus at times. It’s a double-edged sword.
This type of office configuration is becoming more and more popular. On paper, open floorplans sound great. However, they’re not without their flaws as well.
- Encourages Communication: The fewer barriers your office has, the more open it is to collaboration and communication. Staff members will get to know the faces and names of everyone else in the office. These open floorplans make it difficult to hide from your team.
- Increases Accountability: An open floorplan makes it so every employee has an idea of what their team members are up to. In this way, your team will stay productive and accountable for their work.
- Less Privacy: All of that open space comes at the cost of privacy, of course. Without the comfort of a cubicle, employees have a harder time making their workplace their own. They also lack options when they want to take a break from socializing.
- Increases Distractions: The more you can see and hear, the harder it may be to focus on the task at hand. Some employees can manage their attention better than others, but an open floorplan opens the door for all kinds of distractions. So, this configuration might not always be suited for proper employee productivity management.
Open Floor vs. Cubes? Which is the Better Option?
In a way, the pros and cons are flipped for each set-up. That means the “winner” depends on your specific needs, roles, and company culture. If your company relies heavily on teamwork, collaboration, and free expression, open floorplans are often ideal. If your business, on the other hand, requires more individual focus and privacy, cubicles might be the way to go. Some offices might even incorporate elements of both configurations. Do what’s best for your purposes.
At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow.
The notion of a workplace is undergoing a major transformation. The internet allows people to share ideas, files, and projects across the world with lightning speed. For industries that primarily deal with information and communication (as opposed to manufacturing), the need for dedicated commercial space is becoming antiquated. This is especially true for businesses that wish to hire the best candidates across the globe and don’t want to be limited by their region’s pool of potential hires.
Forbes projects that half of the U.S. working population will soon work from home or at least away from a central office on a regular basis. Many workers and companies have already made this leap. Of course, many of these businesses still maintain some office space for a number of reasons, such as maintaining a workplace culture. But is remote work right for your team and company? If you’re on the fence about this future, here are some factors to consider.
How to Tell Remote Work Is Right for Your Team
What is the Nature of Your Work?
Not every job is an ideal fit for remote work. If your company’s day-to-day operations include plenty of meetings and hands-on demonstrations, you probably want your team to be physically present most days. The same goes for industries that require some level of physical labor. Working remotely means your body is essentially unavailable.
If, however, your business mainly deals with data, information, and simple communication tasks, remote work might make a lot of sense. In these cases, your employees’ brains (and fingertips) are the most valuable assets. It doesn’t matter where they’re working, so long as they have a functional internet connection.
Establishing Trust With Your Team
Even if remote work makes sense on a practical level, you must also consider the potential pitfalls of fragmenting your team across physical space. One of the primary advantages of maintaining office space is its usefulness in the realm of team management. Having your team in one place at the same time makes it easier for everyone to communicate, establish trust, and hold each other accountable.
This isn’t to say that communication or trust-building is impossible without a shared space. Video conferences, text-based chat groups, and occasional in-house meetings can be enough to keep your team on track. Still, if you’re going to offer remote work, you need to establish some kind of performance management system so that all employees are accountable for their contributions. Working away from an office is a big responsibility and everyone on your team must be on the same page.
Keeping the lights on isn’t cheap. Depending on the size and scope of your operation, owning or renting commercial property might hurt your bottom line. First, take account of how many employees you have. Then, consider how long, on average, it takes for your workers to get to the office each day. You might start to realize that your employees are burning a lot of gas just to show up, and that you have more space than you need.
On the other hand, your office space might be integral to your company culture, both internally and externally. For instance, if you’re in a prime location, regularly conduct meetings with clients and customers, and utilize every part of your space, your property might be a fixture of your business model. Whatever the case you must consider these costs and benefits, even if it means offering remote work to a portion of your staff, or moving to a smaller location.
Stress, Productivity, and Culture
For many people, working remotely can significantly reduce stress and actually increase productivity. Commuting to an office, socializing with others, and feeling confined in a cubicle each day can take a toll on many workers’ mental and physical health. There are plenty of examples of how managers can reduce stress in the workplace, but offering remote work, if possible, might be one of the best.
When team members can work from their favorite location, skip the morning rush hour, and feel in control of their work environment, they’re often more inclined to get work done. There’s always a risk here in terms of employee work management, of course. But as long as team leaders establish clear guidelines for how team members should approach remote work and what’s expected of them, this opportunity can make for a more positive, productive company culture in the long run.
Remote work might not be right for every company just yet, but it seems to be the way of the future. Keeping the above considerations in mind, you might realize that remote work can lead your team in a positive direction.At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow.
In a constantly evolving business climate, it is more important than ever to make sure work teams are cohesive, high performing, and agile. A strong culture of strategic leadership and values based hiring processes can serve to create high functioning teams. However, sometimes even the most promising hires turn out to be the wrong fit. After efforts to coach, develop, and train an employee fail, it sometimes becomes apparent that they are negatively impacting your business’ growth, reputation, and/or team morale.
It is almost inevitable that a leader will eventually face the difficult decision to terminate an employee. Firing a staff member can lead to serious leadership stress, which can trickle down to the rest of the organization, causing disengagement, confusion, and discontent. Is it possible, then, to terminate employees without crushing morale? In short, yes, but it takes some effort.
How to Terminate an Employee and Maintain Morale
Transparency after Termination
A team member who is either underperforming or a bad fit has significant impact on the morale and energy of their coworkers. If you’re responsible for managing team dynamics, you have to bear in mind that even when a termination is necessary to improve working conditions, some employees may still panic at this revelation, thinking they could be next. It’s your job to articulate a clear leadership message before concern spreads. Your communication should reinforce critical company values, and how the team will move forward, without divulging so much information that you put the organization or yourself at risk.
Be thoughtful prior to sending any message to the rest of the team. Be as transparent as you legally and reasonably can. While you shouldn’t share health or sensitive personnel information, the more your team knows, the better they’ll understand what they’re doing right and where they can improve. Clearly lay out the reasons for the change through the lens of mission, vision, and values, and provide opportunities to discuss matters further with individual team members privately, if necessary. Don’t dwell on specific performance issues beyond this point. This is the time to clear things up, tie any loose ends, and forge a positive path forward with the current team.
Framing is Key
It isn’t just about what you tell your team, but how you tell them. Framing the situation the right way can turn a sour scenario into something beneficial for the workplace culture. The key here is to focus less on the negatives and more on the positives. Don’t ignore the truth of the termination, of course. Instead, leverage this disruption as an opportunity to bring your team back together.
For instance, if an employee was terminated due to a bad attitude or inappropriate behavior, conduct a meeting with your team to reinforce the company’s culture and values. Remind everyone what types of behavior are acceptable and encouraged, and which are discouraged, and point out recent instances where employees did an outstanding job. Bring the focus back to the collective vision, and clearly state what actions are being taken to reinforce this vision and move the company forward.
Terminating a Negative Force Can Actually Boost Morale
In addition to the above, it’s also important to remember that terminating an employee is in the organization’s and the team’s best interest. After all, the decision to remove an employee from the company comes from a careful performance management review process where it becomes clear that the employee is not a cultural match for the organization and may be harming the business in some significant way. If you have been clear in communicating your core company values, the termination should not come as a surprise to the employee, and it’s likely that the employee’s negative performance or attitude manifested in many forms, such as lowered productivity, violation of company policies, or negatively impacting morale. Purposeful action to preserve and uphold your stated values can serve to increase individual accountability and foster greater teamwork.
While this change in numbers might be abrupt for some, it should ultimately make for a better work environment. In this way, firing an employee should actually serve to boost morale rather than crush it. It might take a while for this shift to occur, of course. But with proper framing and clarity in communication, your team can see a positive change come out of this decision.
Of all the responsibilities a leader must take on, having to terminate an employee might cause the most stress. Many seasoned managers still admit to agonizing over even the most justified cases of termination. Still, it’s necessary for maintaining a positive company culture and promoting growth of the organization. Be open and honest with your team and continue focusing on the good.
At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow.Read More
Your people are your greatest assets, but they’re also human beings with various ambitions, views, and flaws. If you’re in charge of a team, you have to focus much of your energy on communication and performance management. Proper communication with each individual and the team as a whole will help keep everyone on track and mitigate any growing issues or concerns.
This is easier said than done, of course. When something goes wrong, a tough conversation may be in order. And if you’re the team leader, the impetus is on you to conduct these tough conversations with dignity while still addressing the issues at hand. Let’s explore some of the ways you can navigate these interactions while also preventing them from devolving into finger-pointing or talking around the problem.
How to Have Challenging Conversations Well
Keep it Private
When a problem arises in your company, it may affect your whole team. Or, your team might have triggered the problem in the first place. Whatever the case, resist the urge to address your team as a whole right away. It’s often better to speak with individuals one-on-one to better understand the issue before bringing it up at large. If the problem seems to stem from a single person, you’ll want to begin by speaking with that person first, of course.
Private discussions are free from distractions and eliminate the potential to lean on or blame anyone else. This gives you the opportunity to better understand where the other party is coming from. Holding conversations in private can also help the other party feel more comfortable, as they won’t feel singled out in front of the rest of the team.
Be as Clear and Honest as Possible
Good leadership communication is all about clarity. The more transparent you are, the better the conversation will go. What does this transparency look like in action? It means addressing the issue head-on, clearly explaining why it matters, and genuinely expressing your desire to make things better as a team. The more sincerity you show, the more sincerity you’ll receive. A workplace culture built on this trust is bound to be more successful.
Don’t Make it Personal
Just because you’re speaking with a staff member one-on-one doesn’t mean the conversation has to get personal. Instead, the talk should focus on the problem itself. Even if the individual contributed to the problem in question, merely placing blame is not an effective way to course-correct. You should try to uncover the full context of the issue and discuss ways to make future improvements. We all make mistakes, and sometimes underlying circumstances play a part. If you’re not willing to dig deeper into all relevant factors, the same mistakes will rear their heads again.
Let the Other Party Speak
Tough conversations cannot be one-sided. Yes, you’re the one initiating the discussion, but you must also let the other party speak and ask questions if anything is to get fixed. Be sure to ask them questions as well. If you don’t open a dialogue you won’t know how to manage your team effectively in the future. Of course, the individual might start placing blame on others, avoiding the problem, or responding emotionally. If this occurs, continue listening, but try to bring the conversation back to the issue, not the person.
Forge a Path Forward Together
The goal of any tough conversation is to amend a problem, making things better moving forward. This can only be done through team effort. Make sure that you end every difficult discussion with a purpose. Work with the individual to create strategies and solutions that will benefit them, the team, and the company. Dignity requires autonomy and self-respect, so you should empower your employees to do better in the future, helping them along the way with mindful team management.
Tough conversations are by definition never easy. They can, however, be productive and cathartic, as long as they’re conducted with dignity. With proper leadership communication training, you can get better at having these conversations. The better you get at this, the stronger your team and your business will be. Leadership Resources offers courses and resources for improving your communication and team management skills.
At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow.Read More