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6 Steps to Sustainable Teams

The key to sustainable leadership, or leading Green, is to enable an organizational culture that is full of trust and free of fear, instead of full of fear and free of trust.

If you are a supervisor who has already accomplished this, read no further. If you are like most of us and could use some help maximizing safety, minimizing fear, and engaging your team, the next few paragraphs may be of value to you. Fear and lack of trust severely affect employee engagement and it is very difficult to engage employees when staff members are afraid of the boss, or each other.

These days Green is universal. Still most of us don’t think about our people as resources and are not doing a good job to conserve their energy and use it wisely. We are expected to do more with less, projects are not well defined, and rework is huge.

We are burning out our people. Our most important resource!

The Triple Bottom Line (people, planet, profit) starts with People for a reason. Still many of us are taking steps to care for the planet while maintaining a profit, but, when it comes to people, we are not doing enough!

Think about it, are your employees choosing to work for your organization, or are they just waiting for an opportunity to jump ship?

Have you managed to create a culture where staff members enjoy coming to work, are challenged to consistently meet or exceed expectations, and feel engaged day in and day out?

Piece of cake, right? Not really. Quite the opposite :-)

One of the reasons leading sustainably is so difficult is because supervisors need to accept their own faults as a leaders, own them, and be open to learning from their mistakes. Staff members will only feel engaged when the boss leads in an authentic manner, works with their strengths and develops a trusting environment by minimizing conflict. As you may already know, this is not easy to do, so a set of tools to help supervisors sustain their teams and lead Green, is critical.

An open source blueprint to sustainable teams

With a willingness to learn from my mistakes, take risks, and trust in others, I have applied and refined many tools and processes over the last 15 years. My goal is to provide a free blueprint for supervisors who want to consistently improve the results of their teams by improving the quality of their leadership. Better leadership can enable sustainable team performance by engaging and challenging employees in a safe and creative work environment.

Condensing all the elements of this process into a single model or toolkit significantly helps to communicate critical principles with a common language. It also enables supervisors and their teams to utilize important tools and resources, when they are needed the most, in order to manage tough challenges, learn from mistakes, and continue to work together.

Better leadership, better results. Period.

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting articles that outline six steps any supervisor can implement to improve the quality of their leadership and, with time, become superior leaders that can sustain teams and consistently deliver results. These articles will also provide detailed instructions to put these concepts into action.

The six steps are:

Step 1 - Identifying strengths
Do you know what your team members do well naturally and use their strengths strategically? Or are you focusing on what they don’t do well and trying to improve that?

Step 2 - Understanding the team balance
How many critical thinkers do you have in your team? Do they outnumber the visionaries? Do the bullies in the team get all the attention and rewards?

Step 3 - Creating safety and trust
Do your team members fear you? Do they fear each other? How do you know?

Step 4 - Expanding the team’s sphere of influence
Are your team members ready and able to influence your bosses boss? Or are they watching what they say so carefully that their performance is hindered?

Step 5 - Maintaining harmony and managing conflict
Do you know the role you play in conflict and how to minimize it? Or, are you self-deceived in thinking conflict is the result of what others are doing?

Step 6 - Implementing a feedback mechanism
Do you know what honoring feedback is? Do you know how to prepare it and how to receive it?

It takes superior leadership to grow and sustain great teams.

While I definitely agree that we don’t need a title or direct reports to be a leader, those who supervise others should have a in-depth understanding of how to improve the quality of their leadership. The steps above can help any supervisor become a superior leader and lead sustainably.




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