Management practices have evolved over the last 40 years or so. There has been a slow but unmistakable move towards a more inclusive and more open leadership style. That style supports a level of informality and dissent that is sometimes difficult for some of us old timers! Still, there is a lot to be said for the honest communication this style engenders.
Here are some of the practices from the best leaders to drive team performance.
Value the Matrix.
Ditch the idea that all communication should go through the “boss”. If you are leading a team that supports other areas of the business, the best thing you can do is support your team in developing their network of partners and stakeholders. Those matrices of relationships will serve you well in times of organizational distress. What’s more valuable is that your team gains knowledge about the business and becomes valuable partners.
Talk to Each Other – A Lot!
Over a hundred years ago, Louis Pasteur said that “…chance favors the prepared mind” but in today’s world, “chance favors the connected mind!” Staying connected is vital – it establishes trust within teams, peers and stake holders. To gain insight talk to your internal and external customers, doing so will provide you a better understanding of their business objectives and help you in assisting them.
Honor The Experts.
Let your team members shine individually. They work hard to learn and usually (in my case almost always!) they know more about the issues, personalities and objectives than you do. Show them you trust them. Get their advice, in fact, in a high performance– let them lead!
Don’t run away from or bury conflict in the team. Talk about it – sort it out – resolve it. When conflict is resolved in a respectful manner– it adds to the bank of relationship capital for the team. Team members learn they can dissent without fear. They learn they are working in a well-supported environment where their opinion is highly valued.
Celebrate Success. When things go well – celebrate! People want to feel good about the work they are doing. Support that by making sure you recognize above average work – whenever it occurs.
Let’s continue to push this shift in leadership style so there can be a more open line of communication. These principles apply to all businesses in every industry and they should be put into practice to create a better environment for all.
Senior VP - Corporate Services