Effective teams don't happen randomly. They are the result of influential leaders who lead by example and build healthy habits into the team's dynamic. But sometimes things go south within a team, and a leader is left wondering, "what happened?" Whether it is a failed project or turnover of talented members in the team, this is a crucial moment of reflection for any leader.
What are some signs your team needs a leader to be more involved? If you can recognize the symptoms of the problem, you can take steps to get your team back on track. Below, are some of the signs you should look out for:
1. Absence of Trust
Trust is the foundation of all successful teams, and the absence of trust is a billboard on the road to dysfunction. Teams that don't trust each other assume harmful intentions, dread spending time together, and don't ask for help from each other. Leaders can start cultivating trust by creating a culture of vulnerability, rewarding honesty, and, most importantly, leading by example.
2. Lack of Decision-Making
The inability to make decisions reflects the lack of cohesion and trust within a team. When teams are stuck, they fail to move forward. Decisions are delayed, and accountability is reduced due to lack of buy-in, which leads to low productivity, and low morale. Lack of decision-making is a symptom of dysfunction and impedes all team progress. Leaders need to identify the root cause of the reluctance. Is it fear? Is it because of past reprimand? Celebrating decisions and encouraging empowerment can have significant effects on turning around stagnation.
3. Resistance to Diverse Ideas
Teams become comfortable. Instead of diverse ideas, they slip into "groupthink." This is ineffective. Productive teams need multiple perspectives to spur innovation and growth. Team members must understand distinct roles, and respectfully challenge others. When teams "groupthink" they avoid debate to the detriment of the team. Leaders can stimulate diverse thoughts by setting an example and challenging the status quo. It also requires creating an environment where fresh ideas are appreciated. At times it is valuable to rotate team roles or bring in outsiders to break a culture of "groupthink."
4. Avoidance of Checking-In
A surprising number of people don't proactively update their leader on the status of their projects – or update the leader much later than the manager would prefer. Let's be clear; there is a big difference between micromanaging and a team efficiently communicating and working in lockstep with their leader. When a team has an involved leader, they are in constant communication about the progress of the team towards its goals. Micromanagement focuses on controlling every task and detail of the work performed by the team members. Leadership is about listening to acknowledge the wins, identify areas where s/he may need to get involved to remove obstacles and provide any constructive feedback or redirection. This is extremely critical to the chain of vision, alignment, and execution. So, if it's not happening, it's time for the leader to step in.
Ultimately, leadership is the ability to translate vision into reality, and that can be an overwhelming undertaking for most. Our Everything DiSC Work of Leaders® program is a personalized learning experience that connects unique leadership styles to real-world demands. It brings together best practices from 300 experts in over 150 organizations, to provide participants with an actionable path toward more effective leadership. Through the process of "Vision, Alignment, and Execution," Everything DiSC Work of Leaders® helps leaders understand their own leadership styles and how their tendencies influence their effectiveness in specific leadership situations.
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