I’ve never met someone who would admit to preferring drama over collaboration. And yet, most cultures have too much drama, too little collaboration. What’s up with that?
This weekend we stayed in a beach house in Nags Head with my sister, and 28 of her closest friends (most of whom we had never met) to run the Outer Banks Southern Fried racing weekend. The kids ran the 5K and the grown-ups ran the 1/2 marathon.
We’ve been here since Thursday night, as of this writing (Sunday at 7:57 pm), there’s been zero drama and no fistacuffs (did I mention there are 14 boys between the ages of 10-16?)
The leadership anthropologist in me is fascinated by this dynamic. So here’s what I’ve observed from this incubator of positive collaboration.
8 Secrets to Creating a Collaborative Culture
Got collaboration issues? Try nurturing a few of these elements.
Respect–For The “Other Team’s” Goals and Objectives
Every family came with a gaggle of objectives. Some wanted a breath to connect. Some ready to run their personal best. Some were marathoning virgins, just trying to finish. We all put it out there in one way or another, and we all cheered on.
Norms–Big Rules are Discussed, Respected and Upheld
Some were easy, “No kid goes to the beach without a grown-up.” But who goes to the PG13 movie is a heck of a lot trickier when the village is involved.
Patience– No Child (or Grown-Up) Left Behind
Herding 29 took longer. We had to breathe.
Humor–We’re Laughing With You, Not At You (okay, okay, maybe a few times at you, but it’s all in good fun)
I promised not to say more, to protect the innocent.
Branding–The Power of Being Part of Something Bigger
We branded our team with a great orange tee-shirt. We were easy to spot. The best part was when we got pulled in with the locals to staff the 5K finish–apparently they needed some friendlies, and that was our brand. Apparently our kids weren’t at all surprised to see us at the end of the race handing out medals and bananas. #thatsawin
Rituals-Creating and Respecting
We had a 16th birthday, a Baptismal anniversary, some firsts, and some other commotion. Some good, some tricky, all shared.
Skills–Knowing What You’re Good at and Bringing All Your Gifts to the Party
The cooks cooked, the cleaners cleaned, the creatives made a party, the singers got the birthday celebration on key. My husband cooked. #miracle. No one asked about their role, they just stepped up.
Boundaries–Letting Go of Your Have to-Haves, and Hanging On To Your Must Dos
Every team had a room. If your door was shut, the communal game was off, except for my sister (during my after-run nap) when she was on the wrong floor, thinking it was her room.
Collaboration takes energy and effort. Let go to grow fast.
P.S. The Connector Role is part of my 7 Roles Every Manager Must Master Model. Want to learn more? Contact me at email@example.com to set up a demo of my new online course.
The number one frustration I hear from team leaders is that their feedback falls on deaf ears. The employee seems to get it–for a minute, and then they go right back to their old habits.
So they give the same feedback again, this time “louder” either literally, or through progressive discipline, or sadly sometimes threats or biting sarcasm.
Sure, there are some folks out there “you just can’t fix,” but frequently that’s not the real issue.
4 Reasons Your Feedback is Being Ignored
When I turn the tables and ask the employees why the behavior continues, here’s what they tell me.
The Feedback Flood Factor
“I’m trying to do better, I really am. But it’s all just too much. Every time we meet, he’s giving me something else to work on. No matter what I do, I can’t seem to get it right, so I’ve learned to just block him out and do the best I can.” If you want real change, isolate one behavior at a time.
The “Do as I Say, Not as I Do” Factor “My boss keeps telling me my customer courtesy credits are too high– that I’m costing the business too much money. So I really worked on that for a while. But then, I found my customers started to ask to speak to my supervisor. And guess, what? She always gave them the credit! She looks like the hero, and the credit she gives them goes against my numbers and I still end up on progressive action.” If you want your employees to hear your feedback, be sure you’re following your own standards. If there are reasons you make exceptions, be sure you clearly differentiate and explain the thought process, so they can follow consistent parameters.
The “I Don’t Know How” Factor “My manager says I need to be more strategic. That sounds awesome. I’m all for that. But what does that mean? How do I do that?” Be sure your feedback is specific and actionable. Explain what success looks like in terms of specific behaviors.
The “I Disagree” Factor “My supervisor keeps asking me to do this, but I just don’t think it’s right. It’s going to have a negative impact on MY customers. I’ve tried to explain my concerns, but she just keeps citing policy, and that this decision is ‘above my pay grade.’ ” Sure, we all have to implement policies we may not agree with, the important factor here is to really listen to the concerns and explain why. Just shutting down the conversation MAY lead to compliance, but not always. And it certainly won’t lead to commitment.
Most employees want to do a good job. If your feedback is being ignored, dig deeper to get to root cause.
As Builder week continues on Let’s Grow Leaders, I’m mixing it up a bit and sharing some insights on Improving Your Balanced Scorecard. This video is part of my online multi-media series. Click here to learn more and download some free resources as well.
Also, I’m going to be mixing in more video from time to time. I’d love for you to subscribe to my YouTube channel.
There’s no question. The best way to get better at leading is by leading. Learn some skills, get out of your comfort zone, try them out, get feedback, take it seriously, adjust, repeat.
It’s the premise behind high-end executive development programs that include action learning projects and 360 feedback assessments.
The trouble is, such programs are often reserved for high-potential talent at a certain level of the organization. They take a significant investment and require a lot of time off the job, while the”real work” piles up.
I want you and the other managers in your organization to have access to high-quality leadership development that’s INTEGRATED with your day jobs. Learn a skill, apply it with your team while you work on real work, get feedback, take it seriously, repeat.
That’s why I’m bringing you this new mixed media course, which includes results-enhancing work you do with your team and a 360. Watch the video and head over the Results That Last course landing page to learn more. While you’re there you can sign up for a FREE 5 day leadership challenge and download my new e-book Mentoring in the Age of the Millennial. I also want to make it easy for you to convince your boss of the amazing value of this investment, so you’ll even find a customizable email you can prepare to help persuade your boss, as to why you should begin immediately.
There’s real value in having teams of managers going through this together, which is why I’ve made it easier to purchase multiple licenses with tiered pricing. I’m finding most of the companies I’ve talked with are starting with a 10-person pilot to try it out.
If you would like you learn more about how this would work for your company or non-profit, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can schedule a demo.
Please help me spread the word about this course, and make it easier for others to get results that last, the right way.