As the team leader you need to know what it means to lead a team. Depending on the size of your practice, this will be determined by the quantity of things you have to work on, deal with, push about and make sense of. But let me get to one basic point you can work on to make all your efforts easy.
Chances are you deal with people in a team and this one point will be a very useful one to expand on. Communication. Ok so you do it all the time, you chat about work, you have meetings about work and you make sure things run smoothly… however…
Let’s take it one more step. Let’s get more one on one with your team to find out what’s happening, find out what they do, how they do it, what they like, dislike… Let’s connect with them to create deeper connections, more understanding (of you and them) Lets make sure they know you can get one on one about the things that ‘connect the dots’ at work.
Some of you will drop what you are doing and get ready to race over and have a chat with your people one on one… but wait! There are a few things you might need to know. Here’s a quick list to use as a starting point.
Be comfortable – About whom you are chatting to and what you are chatting about, as well as making the timing right so as not to encroach on their productive work time.
Get the details right – Ask basically the same questions of everyone. Make a simple list and use it to keep things consistent. Let’s face it though some people will talk their heads off and you will be off on a tangent in no time while others will be difficult to get responses from.
Informal please – This goes with being comfortable, if you can keep the communication feeling like it’s a chat, ‘a catch up’, you will probably build more trust, get the people onside faster and therefore get better results from the information you gather. Depending on the office space you have you may have to take people aside, or simply pull up a chair to their desk. Either way figure out how you can make it not feel formal or worse still a disciplinary meeting about some issue to do with their performance.
Be in the moment – Be connected, take active interest in the conversation, leave distractions out of the equation. Be an active listener and perhaps make notes later.
Now you have some guidelines, what are you going to ask? Start with some easy questions, build up to the harder ones then finish off on light and breezy ones. Oh and probably keep the quantity low. Too many might take up too much time and feel like too much pressure is being put on them.
Here are a few questions to consider, oh and add your own to the mix -How are things going? – What are the biggest challenges we face as you see it? –If you could wave a magic wand what would you change? – What key skills would you like to have or alter to do your job better? – If the team could be more cohesive what would have to alter? – What do you like most about working here? – Do you think we are flexible in our approach to work times and expectations we put on staff?
That’s not a definitive list, just a starting point to work with. A little research will soon uncover more you might like to consider. Now consider what you can do with the information you gather, if nothing else your understanding of your team should have improved, a deeper connectedness might have happened and or your appreciation of the resources you have may have been enhanced. Remember the more you ask the more information you will have to work with.