Anyone out there trying to get a group of people moving in the same direction?
It’s hard, isn’t it? When it comes down to it, there are only a few seasons in the life of a company where an entire team is aligned and moving in the same direction.
Few leaders are able to do this consistently, while most leaders get swept up into the drama of the week or otherwise get tired and unfocused. We’ve all been there.
But, for those of you who want to improve your ability to get your people moving together, on purpose, here are some ideas for you to consider.
1. Do People Know You Are For Them?
Our experience working with clients tells us time and again that if people believe you have an ulterior motive, they will not jump in. If, however, people know that you want the best for them and they believe your motives are earnest, then they will at least approach your ideas with openness and give you the benefit of the doubt.
If you want people to know you are for them then you need to spend time with them, listen to them, make sure they know you have heard them, and then speak to them with respect, as you would want someone else to do with you. Practice being “for people.” Ask them if they believe you are for them. If they don’t believe you have their best interest at heart, then you have an opportunity to grow with them. It may seem like an oddly personal subject to broach in a work environment, but even having the presence of mind and intentionality to ask them about it will communicate your motives powerfully.
2. Communicate in Their Language/Voice:
At GiANT, we teach something called 5 Voices, which helps people understand their leadership voice, from how they interact with and lead others, to what they value and how they make decisions. In our system, people fall into one of five voice tendencies -Pioneer, Connector, Creative, Guardian or Nurturer – though we can all exhibit tendencies of each voice to some degree. The point here is to make sure that you are communicating effectively to each style of leader.
If you are moving your team forward, have you answered the questions for those who value people and want to make sure they are taken care of (Nurturer)? Are you addressing the issues of the Guardian who safeguards systems and wants to make sure the logical details have been addressed? Think about the various voices on your team and make sure you answer the questions that they would ask.
3. Set a Deadline to Hit a Project:
While simple, very few tactics elicit a better way to get teams working together than having a goal or deadline to hit. When project or initiative timeframes are ongoing, the natural lack of urgency allows busyness and other issues to creep in and erode both morale and momentum. If you want to get your teams moving on the same page then choose a date like New Year’s or the end of summer, or an anniversary date of the company as a motivation to move towards. Setting both project deadlines and overall company goals with tangible finish lines can do wonders for fighting complacency, maintaining focus, and keeping engagement high.
Some of us are better at celebrating than others. Now, that doesn’t mean how hard you can party or how well you throw a fancy get-together. Appropriate celebration means calling out and raising up the things we see and value in others, particularly in a genuine, meaningful manner that honors your people in front of one another.
You would be surprised how powerful something as simple as a celebration dinner can be in which you simply stand up and share something you value about each one of your team members, then invite them to do the same with the rest of their colleagues. It’s an incredibly effective means of creating memories and inside stories that build a strong, cohesive culture. And the truth is, very few professionals ever get to be on the receiving end of such a personal, specific moment of edification from their peers. Most of us don’t even realize it’s the jolt of appreciation we need to nudge our hearts and minds back to our team and its goals, until we experience it ourselves.
So, choose a proper time once the your team has hit a big deadline, then create some celebration events or moments to stop and publicly share successes. This makes future initiatives easier to launch, while binding your team closer to one another in the process.
Let’s get our teams moving together. It starts with you!
If you’re interested in learning more about how you can use the 5 Voices and other strategies to get your team on the same page, we’re happy to get in touch. Just click the contact button and let us know!