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Team Building

Building Emotionally Intelligent Teams

Category: 

Organizations waste vast amounts of time, effort and money each year by failing to recognize or correct dysfunctional teams.

A PricewaterhouseCoopers study of 200 global companies across various sectors―involving more than 10,000 projects―found less than 3% successfully completed their plans. Similar research reveals 60%–70% project failure rates. In the United States alone, IT project failures cause estimated losses of up to $150 billion per year.

Dysfunctional teams cannot be blamed for all business failures, but they play a major role in unsuccessful projects and missed goals. In his acclaimed bestseller, organizational consultant Patrick Lencioni identifies The Five Dysfunctions of a Team:

1.     Absence of trust

2.     Fear of conflict

3.     Lack of commitment

4.     No accountability

5.     Lack of attention to results

1.     Absence of Trust

Lack of trust is the core dysfunction, the one that leads to all other problems.

Several group behaviors demonstrate distrust. Team members may have low confidence in others. They may fear that any sign of personal weakness could be used against them. Consequently, people are unwilling to be vulnerable, transparent or open when exchanging ideas or expressing their feelings.

A lack of trust creates defensiveness in team members, notes leadership consultant Roger M. Schwarz in Smart Leaders, Smarter Teams (Jossey-Bass, 2013). Defensive team members feel the need to protect themselves.

Leaders who want to rebuild trust can try the following strategies:

·      Vulnerability: Create an environment in which team members can safely feel vulnerable. Draw out people’s personal experiences by sharing your own stories, thereby setting the proper tone and lowering barriers.

·      Honest Feedback: Team members must learn how to provide feedback. Acknowledging and affirming others with constructive feedback set the stage for positive reinforcement and encouragement.

·      Authenticity: Practice humility to tear down walls. If you and your team can admit that you don’t know everything, the experience will be freeing.

·      Integrity: Model integrity in group dynamics. Everything you do is magnified and often copied. When you “walk the talk,” others will follow your example.

2.     Fear of Conflict

Lack of trust within a team easily leads to fear of conflict, confrontation, criticism and/or reprisal. When teammates and leaders are seen as potential threats, people adopt avoidance tactics. This sets up an artificial harmony that has no productive value. There is no true consensus, just a risk-preventing sentiment of “yes” feedback. True critique is avoided. Genuine solutions are not explored, and the team functions poorly.

This dynamic allows a domineering team member to take over, with a unilateral-control mentality. Dominant personalities believe they’re always correct, and anyone who disagrees is wrong and disloyal. Independent ideas are stifled. Negative feedback creates discomfort. People’s spirits and self-esteem eventually plummet, crippling group performance.

Conflict-resolution training can help you encourage productive debate without hurting feelings or wounding character.

3.     Lack of commitment

When teams lack trust and fear conflict, they’re likely to avoid commitment. We focus on self-preservation and maintaining amicable relationships. As we attempt to avoid confrontation, we stop listening to others’ concerns. Discussions become superficially polite.

Most people can sense when someone isn’t listening to their ideas or questions. This single dynamic―often subtle―will shut down team engagement and commitment, and tension continues to grow.

Teammates who are cut off or ignored feel left out. They’re less committed to team effort, so they’re unlikely to “get with the program.” It becomes difficult for a team to move forward amid stalled decisions or incomplete assignments. Enthusiasm for projects takes a nosedive, and confrontations become commonplace. Some members even stop caring about whether the team succeeds.

Lack of commitment also becomes a problem when you fail to convey clear goals or direction. People are left to wonder what they’re supposed to do, and the team’s success is no longer their top priority. They mentally check out and just start going through the motions.

You can reestablish commitment by prompting team members to ask questions. When you invite dialogue, teammates learn more about each other. They’ll see others’ intentions, attitudes, motives and mindsets more clearly, eliminating the need to guess or assume.

4.     No Accountability

If you fail to reverse a lack of commitment, dysfunctions will intensify. Team members will lose their sense of accountability. If there’s little buy-in, there’s no desire to meet obligations, follow directions or help others. This is most common in environments where progress isn’t adequately assessed and definitive project schedules don’t exist.

Work toward establishing clear directions, standards and expectations. All team members need to work with the same information set at all times. Realistic, understandable schedules help drive activities and allow work flow to meet interconnected goals.

Activity tracking methods should clearly report which tasks are on time and which are late. Corrective action plans should make the necessary adjustments and redirect activities accordingly.

5.     Inattention to Results

Without team accountability, the criticality of group success is lost in the shuffle. Self-preservation and self-interest trump results in a climate of distrust and fear. Your inability to track results leaves you with no way to judge ongoing success or failure, progress or pitfalls. No one is praised for good results, and no one is corrected for the lack thereof.

Effective project management methods must track progress toward intermediate and final goals. Affirm team members (and their interdependence) through their accomplishments and struggles. This draws them together and lets them know they’re valuable to the organization, team and, ultimately, themselves.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put strengths-based leadership into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to build a company culture built on trust? Transformational leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a transformational leader who inspires individuals and organizations to achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders create a culture where respect and trust flourish.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-i 2.0, Hogan Lead, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders nurture strengths-based conversations in the workplace. You can become an inspiring leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area executive coaching and leadership development firm helping innovative companies and law firms develop emotionally intelligent and mindful leaders. We help build coaching cultures of positive engagement.

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman
Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
 Emotional Intelligence & Mindful Leadership Workplace Expert

I coach leaders to cultivate clarity, creativity, focus, trust, and full engagement in a purpose-driven culture.

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders. 

Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded rare "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development. Alan Weiss, Ph.D., President, Summit Consulting Group

Are you an executive leader who wants to be more effective at work and get better results?

Did you know that research has demonstrated, that the most effective leaders model high emotional intelligence, and that EQ can be learned? It takes self-awareness, empathy, and compassion to become a more emotionally intelligent leader. 

Emotionally intelligent and mindful leaders inspire people to become fully engaged with the vision and mission of their company.  Mindful leadership starts from within.

I am a consulting psychologist and executive coach. I believe coaching is a collaborative process of providing people with the resources and opportunities they need to self manage, develop change resiliency and become more effective. Utilizing instrumented assessments - clients set clear goals, make optimal use of their strengths, and take action to create desired changes aligned with personal values.

I have been chosen as an expert to appear on radio and TV, MSNBC, CBS Health Watch and in the San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time, Forbes and Fast Company.

Over the past thirty-five years, I have coached hundreds of leaders to improve their leadership effectiveness.

After only 6 months, one executive coaching client reported greater productivity, and more stress resiliency helping her company improve revenues by 20%. While this may depend on many factors most of my clients report similar satisfaction in their EQ leadership competence leading to better business results.

You can choose to work with a highly seasoned executive coach to help facilitate your leadership development and executive presence awakening what’s possible. 

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com

Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com
 
Connect with me on these Social Media sites.

http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman
http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman
http://www.youtube.com/user/drmaynardbrusman
http://google.com/+maynardbrusman

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: 

Why No One Likes Taking One for the Team

Category: 

Watching my boys play hockey every week reminds me of something that used to really bug me as a participant in team sports. I called it, “taking one for the team.” Typically, if the team loses a game or has a bad play, the coach will pull the team aside and give them a verbal “blast” relative to what they had done wrong.

When I was young this often involved the coach yelling and waving his arms around. Fortunately, this seems less common in team sports today. That said you only need to watch a few professional hockey or baseball games to see that this approach to providing feedback is still quite prominent in some settings.

Interestingly I’ve seen this same archaic and ineffective means of providing feedback used by many leaders in business.

It seems to be put into use when one or two employees make a bad decision or fail to meet a deadline. In response to the issue the supervisor or manager ends up pulling the entire team aside and giving them a verbal “blasts” about for their poor performance.

Have you ever had a boss like this? I have, and let me tell you it is not fun.

I’m often asked to coach leaders who use this, “take one for the team” approach as it often has long term impacts on team morale and productivity. When coaching these type of leaders I start by asking them why on earth they use this approach to feedback and their response is often related to a belief that this “take one for the team approach” either saves them time or is a means to communicate the issue to a broader group.

Unfortunately no one that I’ve ever met likes being called to the carpet for something he or she has not done wrong. No one.

That’s not the only problem though. Studies have shown that providing feedback in a group setting, where the points raised aren’t entirely relevant to everyone participating, actually diminishes the receptivity to the feedback and over time lessens the respect recipients have for the person providing the feedback.

So the question is whether group feedback is effective. In essence should an employee have to, “take one for the team?”

The short answer is yes, group feedback can be effective however there are some rules to ensure recipients of the feedback are receptive. Here are a couple that I advise many of the leaders I coach to use when they are forced to provide feedback to a small group:

First, use group feedback as a supplement to individual feedback.

If an employee has made a mistake and you’ve had an opportunity to discuss the issue directly with him or her, and coach the person on the proper process or protocol, with the employee’s permission bring the situation back to the group to discuss the lessons learned and include the employee in the presentation (if he or she is comfortable doing so). This creates an environment for group learning.

Second, approach group feedback as a collaborative dialogue.

Discuss changes in process or mistakes that have been made in a group setting, and ask for feedback and ideas from the group on how to improve upon or resolve the situation moving forward. Thus the discussion is shifted from, “What was done wrong or missed?” to, “How can we make this process or approach better to avoid any errors or issues in the future?” Employees are more receptive to collectively discussing ideas for improving how they work than they are to hearing a one-sided view of what they are doing wrong.

Consider the week ahead and situations where you may be forced to provide feedback to a group. How can you shift from a “take one for the team,” approach to a collaborative dialogue focused on enticing employees to participate in finding and identifying solutions to working better together?

Are you facing a situation where you’re unsure of how to shift to a more collaborative dialogue when providing feedback? Hit reply and let me know the situation. I’ll be happy to share some additional ideas with you.

© Shawn Casemore 2017. All rights reserved.

Can We Really Fix Dysfunctional Teams?

Category: 

Organizations waste vast amounts of time, effort and money each year by failing to recognize or correct dysfunctional teams.

A PricewaterhouseCoopers study of 200 global companies across various sectors―involving more than 10,000 projects―found less than 3% successfully completed their plans. Similar research reveals 60%–70% project failure rates. In the United States alone, IT project failures cause estimated losses of up to $150 billion per year.

Dysfunctional teams cannot be blamed for all business failures, but they play a major role in unsuccessful projects and missed goals. In his acclaimed bestseller, organizational consultant Patrick Lencioni identifies The Five Dysfunctions of a Team:

1.     Absence of trust

2.     Fear of conflict

3.     Lack of commitment

4.     No accountability

5.     Lack of attention to results

Leaders must address these dysfunctions if their teams are to have any chance of success.

“The true measure of a team is that it accomplishes the results that it sets out to achieve. …It requires levels of courage and discipline―and emotional energy―that even the most driven executives don’t always possess.” ~ Patrick Lencioni, (Jossey-Bass, 2002)

1.     Absence of Trust

Trust is the foundation for all human interactions and the key to a functional team. Lack of trust is the core dysfunction, the one that leads to all other problems.

Several group behaviors demonstrate distrust. Team members may have low confidence in others. They may fear that any sign of personal weakness could be used against them. Consequently, people are unwilling to be vulnerable, transparent or open when exchanging ideas or expressing their feelings. Those who avoid exposure to criticism resist asking for help and hesitate before offering it to others.

A lack of trust creates defensiveness in team members, notes leadership consultant Roger M. Schwarz in Smart Leaders, Smarter Teams (Jossey-Bass, 2013). Defensive team members feel the need to protect themselves, he explains in "Get a Dysfunctional Team Back On Track" (Harvard Business Review).

An absence of trust undermines the relationships team members need to work together successfully. Without trust, there’s insufficient communication, cooperation and participation. Leaders who want to rebuild trust can try the following strategies.

·      Vulnerability: Create an environment in which team members can safely feel vulnerable. Draw out people’s personal experiences by sharing your own stories, thereby setting the proper tone and lowering barriers. Recognize that it takes determination and resolve to restore trust.

·      Honest Feedback: Team members must learn how to provide feedback. Acknowledging and affirming others with constructive feedback set the stage for positive reinforcement and encouragement. Consistent, honest feedback can then become habitual, which fortifies trust.

·      Authenticity: Practice humility to tear down walls. If you and your team can admit that you don’t know everything, the experience will be freeing. Remind the team that everyone is in the same boat, everyone is in the process of learning, and no one has all the answers. Each member contributes to the group’s problems and solutions.

·      Integrity: Model integrity in group dynamics. Everything you do is magnified and often copied. When you “walk the talk,” others will follow your example. Integrity and trust become contagious. Noble character (doing what’s right for each other) reduces defensiveness and distrust.

2.     Fear of Conflict

Lack of trust within a team easily leads to fear of conflict, confrontation, criticism and/or reprisal. When teammates and leaders are seen as potential threats, people adopt avoidance tactics. This sets up an artificial harmony that has no productive value. There is no true consensus, just a risk-preventing sentiment of “yes” feedback. True critique is avoided. Genuine solutions are not explored, and the team functions poorly.

This dynamic allows a domineering team member to take over, with a unilateral-control mentality. Dominant personalities believe they’re always correct, and anyone who disagrees is wrong and disloyal. Independent ideas are stifled. Negative feedback creates discomfort. People’s spirits and self-esteem eventually plummet, crippling group performance.

As a leader, you must teach your team that discomfort is sometimes part of the job. People need to get used to feeling uncomfortable, to some degree. It’s part of doing business and a key dynamic among coworkers.

Conflict-resolution training can help you encourage productive debate without hurting feelings or wounding character. Trust grows, and difficult ideas can be processed to reach consensus on solutions. Once again, it’s up to you to set an example by developing this vital leadership skill.

It’s just as important to recognize when you and your team members are agreeing too quickly and to assess whether consensus is authentic. Teams often avoid discomfort by falling into “groupthink;” instead of debating solutions, members “go along just to get along.”

3.     Lack of commitment

When teams lack trust and fear conflict, they’re likely to avoid commitment. We focus on self-preservation and maintaining amicable relationships. As we attempt to avoid confrontation, we stop listening to others’ concerns. Discussions become superficially polite.

Most people can sense when someone isn’t listening to their ideas or questions. This single dynamic―often subtle―will shut down team engagement and commitment, and tension continues to grow.

Teammates who are cut off or ignored feel left out. They’re less committed to team effort, so they’re unlikely to “get with the program.” It becomes difficult for a team to move forward amid stalled decisions or incomplete assignments. Enthusiasm for projects takes a nosedive, and confrontations become commonplace. Some members even stop caring about whether the team succeeds.

Lack of commitment also becomes a problem when you fail to convey clear goals or direction. People are left to wonder what they’re supposed to do, and the team’s success is no longer their top priority. They mentally check out and just start going through the motions.

You can reestablish commitment by prompting team members to ask questions. When you invite dialogue, teammates learn more about each other. They’ll see others’ intentions, attitudes, motives and mindsets more clearly, eliminating the need to guess or assume.

Successful team leaders solicit all opinions, positions and ideas, while affirming those who offer them. They make a point of considering all input, which conveys a sense of worthiness to team members.

When teams have clear plans and directions, members become infused with confidence and commitment. People want to be led in ways that assure success and fulfillment.

4.     No Accountability

If you fail to reverse a lack of commitment, dysfunctions will intensify. Team members will lose their sense of accountability. If there’s little buy-in, there’s no desire to meet obligations, follow directions or help others. This is most common in environments where progress isn’t adequately assessed and definitive project schedules don’t exist.

When directions are unclear and roles are ill defined, people have less impetus to account for their performance or progress. In extreme cases, progress is not even possible. Lack of clarity has people confused, frustrated or apathetic. There can even be uncertainty as to who is on the team. Members may shift on or off, or have duties reversed, dropped or unspecified. People will have no sense of interdependency, and the team’s reason for existence is lost.

Work toward establishing clear directions, standards and expectations. All team members need to work with the same information set at all times. Realistic, understandable schedules help drive activities and allow work flow to meet interconnected goals.

Activity tracking methods should clearly report which tasks are on time and which are late. Corrective action plans should make the necessary adjustments and redirect activities accordingly. Accountability can be restored under inclusive project management. People will want to avoid letting down their boss and each other.

5.     Inattention to Results

Without team accountability, the criticality of group success is lost in the shuffle. Self-preservation and self-interest trump results in a climate of distrust and fear. Your inability to track results leaves you with no way to judge ongoing success or failure, progress or pitfalls. No one is praised for good results, and no one is corrected for the lack thereof. As this trail of dysfunction reaches its fatal end, it won’t be long before the team is disbanded.

This type of team scenario is logged as yet another failure. Leaders who allow this to happen may not be capable of learning from their mistakes, and their ability to prevent similar results in the future is severely compromised.

Effective project management methods must track progress toward intermediate and final goals. Affirm team members (and their interdependence) through their accomplishments and struggles. This draws them together and lets them know they’re valuable to the organization, team and, ultimately, themselves.

Working through issues and encouraging people to provide candid responses foster the discipline needed to reverse a trail of dysfunction. Your people will focus less on self-preservation and more on the group’s efforts to achieve common goals.

The process begins with trust. If you establish trust from the start, you’re on the road to minimizing dysfunctions. Even if your team is deeply entrenched in a project before trust is built, it’s not too late to assess functioning. Take advantage of continuing-education opportunities, leadership training and executive coaching to help prevent dysfunction pitfalls.

Team coaching is also recommended, as it teaches skills and tactics for contributing to organizational success, thereby reversing any longstanding trends of project failure.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put strengths-based leadership into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to build a company culture built on trust? Transformational leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a transformational leader who inspires individuals and organizations to achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders create a culture where respect and trust flourish.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-i 2.0, Hogan Lead, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders nurture strengths-based conversations in the workplace. You can become an inspiring leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area executive coaching and leadership development firm helping innovative companies and law firms develop emotionally intelligent and mindful leaders. We help build coaching cultures of positive engagement.

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman
Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
 Emotional Intelligence & Mindful Leadership Workplace Expert

I coach leaders to cultivate clarity, creativity, focus, trust, and full engagement in a purpose-driven culture.

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders. 

Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded rare "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development. Alan Weiss, Ph.D., President, Summit Consulting Group

Are you an executive leader who wants to be more effective at work and get better results?

Did you know that research has demonstrated, that the most effective leaders model high emotional intelligence, and that EQ can be learned? It takes self-awareness, empathy, and compassion to become a more emotionally intelligent leader. 

Emotionally intelligent and mindful leaders inspire people to become fully engaged with the vision and mission of their company.  Mindful leadership starts from within.

I am a consulting psychologist and executive coach. I believe coaching is a collaborative process of providing people with the resources and opportunities they need to self manage, develop change resiliency and become more effective. Utilizing instrumented assessments - clients set clear goals, make optimal use of their strengths, and take action to create desired changes aligned with personal values.

I have been chosen as an expert to appear on radio and TV, MSNBC, CBS Health Watch and in the San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time, Forbes and Fast Company.

Over the past thirty-five years, I have coached hundreds of leaders to improve their leadership effectiveness.

After only 6 months, one executive coaching client reported greater productivity, and more stress resiliency helping her company improve revenues by 20%. While this may depend on many factors most of my clients report similar satisfaction in their EQ leadership competence leading to better business results.

You can choose to work with a highly seasoned executive coach to help facilitate your leadership development and executive presence awakening what’s possible. 

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com

Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com
 
Connect with me on these Social Media sites.

http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman
http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman
http://www.youtube.com/user/drmaynardbrusman
http://google.com/+maynardbrusman

 

 

Categories: 

THE FUTURE OF WORK

Category: 

This past week I spoke to a group of senior managers during a company retreat for a very highly respected multi-national corporation. The talk was around how to stimulate new ways to grow the business organically.

I know what your thinking… Boring; another talk about metrics, lead generation and online marketing.

Actually it was quite the opposite.

We did of course discuss how markets are changing, competition is changing, and customer-buying habits are evolving. But most relevant to the discussion was the fact that

Employees today want to be more involved in the business; in it’s direction and the decisions made that can influence their roles and responsibilities. They desire greater autonomy in what they do, less direction and more variety in the role they play.

During the talk I made some bold predictions that I think are relevant to share… You could have heard a pin drop with some of these points…

The future of work is less specialty skills and more about cross-functional roles; it’s less about individual authority and responsibility and more about productive collaboration and individual autonomy; it’s less about working in departments and more about working as a team.

In the future of work there will be fewer bosses; greater flexibility in work hours; less concern about a dress code; and more concern about having an equal voice.

The future of work… is here. Today.

Don’t believe me? Just take a look at the statistics on the number of millennials joining the workforce (they are now the dominant generation across North America) and then consider someone who you know well that is in their late teens or early twenties. They will be working next to you within the next 12 to 36 months, influencing what you do, how you think and communicate.

You see growing a business of any size is less about doing stuff, and more about engaging and involving the very employees who support your customers either directly, or indirectly in your mission. After all it’s your employees who are the horsepower behind the business.

Are you ready? The future of work is here.

Categories: 

Is Your Team In It To Win It?

Category: 

My wife is a big Toronto Blue jays fan, and since she controls the remote most of the time you can likely guess that I’ve become one as well. It’s not difficult to be a fan when the blue jays are on such a strong winning streak, but their consistent wins should come as no surprise.

This year, more than in previous years, the blue jays have invested heavily in acquiring new talent, most recently Price and Tulowitzki. This investment alone has had a significant influence on the Blue jays performance as a team, most notably camaraderie amongst the team is higher, talent that wasn’t performing to the new team standards have been released or returned to the minor leagues and talent such as Jose Bautista is actually performing at a higher level then in previous years.

By investing heavily in some new talent, the performance of the blue jays has improved, setting new higher standards as to expected outcomes.

 

If making these types of investments and changes in teams can yield such dramatic improvements in performance of the team, then why don’t we take more dramatic action and make more significant investments in attracting and integrating high performing talent into our businesses? Historically I hear CEO’s and Executives tell me that they just can’t find the talent, or the process to remove an employee is simply too cumbersome. They choose to hold onto individuals who are clearly performing at levels that hold the rest of the team back.

You are never going to win in the game of business if you don’t have a strong team. We know what to do; we just don’t want to do it.

 

When the topic of underperforming employees comes up with the clients I advise I invariably remind them of something. Holding onto an employee who is not meeting your performance standards is doing the business, the employee themselves and the rest of the team members a complete dis-service. It’s fair to say that not everyone is going to “fit” in your team or your business, and that’s okay. You owe it to everyone including your employees, your customers, your shareholders, and your family to take action where action is necessary.

Make higher investments and take rapid action to attract and integrate the right talent into your team and watch their performance soar.

Categories: 

WHY TEAM BUILDING IS DEAD

Category: 

I'm often asked about how to best motivate teams, the common belief of course being that some type of event or intervention is the best way to energize, invigorate and build renewed collaboration.

 

My experience has been however that although such an event yield some initial benefits, there are few long term benefits that can be realized.


The reason might surprise you.  

 

Team Building as an event doesn't typically make any of the members more enthusiastic about being part of the team, it only serves to bring realization to the fact that the group can work as a team. This may seem sufficient at first blush, but once employees return to their working environment where the same challenges, interruptions, personality conflicts and politics exist, the energy can quickly diminish.

 

The only true means of creating a more collaborative team over the long term is to form a community.  

 

Think about it in this way.  

 

In order to attract and retain the best talent, the key question that must be crystal clear is what's in it for them. Put another way, for individuals to possess a desire to contribute to their team, there must be a clear reason for them to join, stay and get involved.  

  • A community is supported by (not managed by) a centralized body voted in by members.
  • A community recognizes and values all members for their individual contribution.
  • A community will naturally evoke those who threaten the stability or safety of the community.
  • A community ebbs and flows as the needs of the infrastructure shift.

If companies the size of Google and Zappos can do it, why can't you?  

 

Question: How are you creating a working environment that employees actually want to join, participate in and remain a part of?   


Categories: 

UNDERESTIMATION IS THE NEMESIS OF SUCCESS

The recent Superbowl win by the Seattle Seahawks reminded me of just how crucial it is to continuously improve upon fundamentals. Teams who are successful never underestimate their competition irregardless of their tenure, reputation or past performance. Interestingly this very same rule applies in business. Regardless of the longevity of your business or the tenure of your employees, there must be a consistent structured effort to improve upon current performance. Think about tenured companies like Sears and RIM that struggle today as a result of disregarding this fundamental rule.

A successful sports team is built upon a very simple foundation:

  1. Individual talent
  2. Collective capability
  3. Strong leadership
  4. A clear vision of success
  5. A series of proven plays

A high performing organization is built upon a very similar foundation:

  1. Individual knowledge and experience
  2. Collaboration and alignment
  3. Supportive leadership
  4. A clear vision and mission for the organization
  5. Proven and effective business processes

 To outperform and outlast your competition, it's necessary to place continuous effort on improving performance in each of these five fundamental areas. Next to sales growth, improved performance in delivering products or services is the single most important focus for a business owner or executive. Consider each of the five areas above and where your weakest performance exists, then formulate a simple plan to address this weakness, making it a priority for both yourself and your employees.

On the other hand, if you don't believe there is need for improvement in any of these areas then just sit back, relax and let the game play out. Really, what's the worst that can happen?

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Ten Emotionally Intelligent Team Player Tips

Emotionally intelligent team leaders know that serving others is the key to better business results, greater team involvement and happier followers.

I recently spoke with the CEO of a San Francisco Bay Area company regarding providing executive coaching and leadership development for their senior executives. She asked some very insightful questions to determine fit. She specifically wanted to know how I work with different personality styles, and my methods for facilitating change in thinking and behavior.

The CEO and I spoke about my emotional intelligence-based approach to coaching, and my belief that possessing a psychological understanding of human behavior based on neuroscience is important for coaching executives. We also spoke of the need for her organization to create a high performing team-based culture where innovation and creativity flourish. As part of that effort, leaders would need to be more collaborative team players.

The CEO is interested in collaborating with me to help create an emotionally intelligent and socially wise corporate culture based on trust, involvement and respect. We further discussed how company leaders could become more mindful team players by working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant.

High Performing Teams

Teams are the most common business unit for high performance. Although the word gets used loosely and not always appropriately, there is universal acceptance that teams create opportunities for high performance results. A team’s performance includes both individual results and collective work products, yielding sums greater than its parts.

True teamwork promotes individual and collective performance. Effective teams value listening and communicating, sharing work responsibilities, provide support and can make work more social and enjoyable. Members are supportive of one another and recognize the interests and achievements of each other. When they are working the way they should, they are incredibly effective in achieving high performance results.

Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith (The Wisdom of Teams; Teams at the Top) provide this definition of teams:

“A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and an approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.”

Emotionally Intelligent Teams

The important difference between effective teams and ineffective ones lies in the emotional intelligence of the group. Teams have an emotional intelligence of their own. It is comprised of the emotional intelligence of individual members, plus a collective competency of the group. Everyone contributes to the overall level of emotional intelligence, with the team leader having more influence. Teams can improve their emotional intelligence and boost their performance when comprised of good team players.

Good Team Players

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” - Henry Ford

A good team player is someone who will unite others for a cause by sharing information and ideas and empower them and repose trust in them. So it is essentially shared responsibility, with each team player owning up for what they do.

A team player unites others for a cause by sharing information/ideas; empowers them and reposes trust in them. So it is essentially shared responsibility, with each team player owning up for what they do.

To be a good team player you will likely model most of the following behaviors:

Ten EQ Team Player Tips

1. Mindful and Self-Aware:

Honing the skills of awareness leads to mindfulness—becoming aware of what’s going on inside and around us on several levels. Mindfulness is engaging with others on the team in a state of full, conscious awareness of one’s whole self, other team members and the context in which we work.

2. Adaptable:

You need to adapt and be open to change so you can fit into the team. Be willing to help others and learn and have the power to think outside the box. You may have to re-evaluate your role in the team from time to time. Good team players roll with the punches; they adapt to ever-changing situations. They don't complain or get stressed out because something new is being tried or some new direction is being set.

3. Collaborative:

Collaboration is the key to sustainable success.You need to meet the challenges head-on as a team. There needs to be seamless co-ordination among the members and each one of you has to deliver, working together I the spirit of cooperation. For productive collaboration, you need to be focused and result oriented. Your perceptions need to be clear, transparent and tangible to the entire team.

4. Positive:

Being positive isn’t simply about being nice and giving in, nor does it mean suppressing negative information and emotions. Both are critical for optimal performance. Apparently, however, a 3:1 positivity-to-negativity ratio is the tipping point for individuals and business teams to go from average to flourishing.

5. Communicative:

Teams need people who speak up and express their thoughts and ideas clearly, directly, honestly, and with respect for others and for the work of the team. That's what it means to communicate constructively. Such a team member does not shy away from making a point but makes it in the best way possible — in a positive, confident, and respectful manner.

6. Listens actively:

Good listeners are essential for high-performing teams to function effectively. Teams need team players who can absorb, understand, and consider ideas and points of view from other people without debating and arguing every point. Such a team member also can receive criticism without reacting defensively.

7. Problem-solver:

The whole reason why a team is created is usually to address problems. Good team players are willing to deal with all kinds of problems in a solutions-oriented manner. They're problem-solvers don't look for others to fault or place blame. Powerful team players get problems out in the open for discussion, and then collaborate with others to find solutions and form action plans.

8. Reliable:

You can count on a reliable team member to get work done, and do her fair share; to work hard and meet commitments. She follows through on assignments. Consistency is essential for success. You can count on her to always give her best, and deliver high levels of performance.

9. Empathic:

Empathy is the ability to step outside oneself and see the world as other people do. Good team players perform at optimum levels when they know they make a difference. When they demonstrate compassion and kindness for other team members, they become more engaged and energized.

10. Trust:

Trust  entails unavoidable risks.
As a species, we are hardwired to trust others, especially those who appear similar to ourselves and who have similar interests. Trust is one of the essential ingredients to build a great relationship, winning team and culture of greatness. Without trust you can’t have engaged relationships and without engaged relationships you won’t be a successful team player.

Trust is essential for business success, and it’s the foundation of our team relationships. Open and honest communications support the decision to trust. Lack of communication and transparency creates suspicion. Coach savvy team players ask open-ended questions of team members to facilitate dialogue, and really listen to the answers.

Summary:

Good team players treat fellow team members with courtesy and respect—not just some of the time but consistently.
In addition, they show understanding and the appropriate support of other team members to help get the job done. They display a sense of humor and know how to have fun.

Team players are not ego bound, but care about the team achieving meaningful results. In the end, their involvement is seeing the team succeed and knowing they have contributed to this joint success.

Winning as a team is one of the great motivators of employee performance. Good team players are happy to be an integral part of the team, and enthusiastically tap into their intrinsic motivation and drive to succeed.

Are you working in a professional services firm or other organization where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to be better team players? Good team players tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to collaboratively create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a good team player?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their transformational high performance leadership development program.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help you become a better team player. You can become a team leader who models emotional and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage  and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman
Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach
Trusted Advisor to Senior Leadership Teams

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders. Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com 
Connect with me on these Social Media sites.

http://twitter.com/drbrusman
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http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

© 2013 Dr. Maynard Brusman, Working Resources

 

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Prone to Action or Paused in Procrastination

While I was boarding to depart to Edmonton last week, I was walking down the gangway to the plane when I noticed that the gentlemen in front of me had what appeared to be a small child strapped to his backpack. More disturbing was the fact that the figure was folded over forward, head bouncing up and down with each step he took. It took only a millisecond for me to realize that this was in fact a doll (a very life-like one, I will add), not a child.
 
Thinking how my initial perceptions were amusing, I mentioned it to him, saying that I was concerned for a moment that I might need to perform CPR.  He laughed and said he wondered if someone was going to say something. Hearing our conversation, the gentlemen behind me spoke up and said, “I saw that too, and thought, ‘What the heck?’”

How many congruences exist in your environment?
 
Are you receptive to circumstances that demand change?
 
Have you trained yourself to investigate and validate your perceptions?
 
Lastly, are you willing to speak up and take action if the evidence supports the need for change?
 
Several months ago a client divulged that she was having problems with an employee. After a brief discussion and some very pointed questions, it was obvious that the employee was not the right fit for the organization. The answer was clear: “You need to let him go. It is best for you, for the business, and (whether they realize it or not) for the employee.”
 
It only took a week for my client to terminate the employee. When I asked her why she had waited so long to take action she said, "I guess I just needed validation."

Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.
Far too often we wait for someone to validate our perceptions. We need to train ourselves to take action when we notice an congruence, I call this I.V.R (Investigate, Validate and Respond). So my question to you is, what perceptions do you hold that bother you? Are you going to let them persist or are you prone to take action?

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How Introverts and Extroverts Work in Teams

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage  and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

Dr. Maynard Brusman
Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach
Trusted Advisor to Senior Leadership Teams

 

How Introverts and Extroverts Work in Teams

 

Teamwork demands shared responsibility, but it also demands individual contributions. It fails if team members shelter behind the consensus.

 ~ Robert Heller, Founding Editor, Management Today

I recently spoke with a director of human resources who was searching for a San Francisco executive coach for the executive team at her company. The director of human resourcesasked some very insightful questions to determine whether we were a good fit. She specifically wanted to know how I worked with different personality styles, and my methods for working with executive teams. She was very interested in my leadership development work with helping executive teams deal with groupthink.

The director of human resources and I spoke about my approach to working with executive teams, and my belief that groupthink can sometimes impede creativity and innovation. We also spoke of the need for her organization to work with a management consultant to help their company create a culture where creativity and innovation thrives.

The director of human resources is interested in partnering with me in helping their executive team work more collaboratively while maximizing each leader’s individual creativity. We further discussed how other company executives could benefit by working with a seasoned executive coach.

Introverts vs. Extroverts

One’s attraction to working in social groups may be culturally influenced. In the United States, for example, we tend to idealize charismatic extroverts. (Think celebrities and media-savvy CEOs.) Because extroverts usually talk the most (and often the loudest), their ideas are heard and often implemented.

Psychologists agree that introverts and extroverts work differently. Extroverts tend to tackle assignments quickly. They make fast and sometimes rash decisions. They are comfortable with multitasking and risk-taking.

Introverts often work more slowly and deliberately. They prefer to focus on one task at a time, and they dislike interruptions and noisy environments that interfere with concentration.

Extroverts think out loud and on their feet; they prefer talking to listening and are comfortable with conflict, but not with solitude.

Introverts, in contrast, may have strong social skills and enjoy some parties and business meetings, but after a while they wish they were at home with a good book. They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues and family. They listen more than they talk, think before they speak and often express themselves better in writing than in conversation. They tend to dislike conflict.

Leaders must understand each team member’s strengths and temperament. The most effective teams are composed of a healthy mix of introverts and extroverts.

Are you working in a professional services firm or other organization where executive coaches provide leadership development to help team leaders enhance creativity and build trust? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to build better ways to work in teams? Enlightened leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “How can I understand each team member’s strengths and temperament to build the most effective teams?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders develop more effective teams.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders build high performance teams. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com  

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.
http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman

http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman

http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

 

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