We know we can’t control the emotional state of others but we can definitely influence them by creating the right thinking environment and developing our own leadership behaviours in support. We have already looked at how, as leaders, we can create generative thinking by designing the best climate for thinking in the team. But leading a great team event is a particularly strong challenge. Leaders also need to look at themselves and consider whether they behave in the best possible way to create a positive climate in the team.
|Team climate is the key to great productivity. What is the climate like on your island?|
Employee surveys provide a rich source of leadership feedbackand asnapshot of the current culture. I have used these surveys during leadership programmes to explore the real engagement in the team and what the team is telling their leader. This analysis raises important questions:
Sue Blight is an accredited Executive Coach through Henley Business School with extensive experience as a Management Trainer and Change Facilitator.
Sue specialises in psychometric assessment and delivers performance support for individuals and teams.
Leadership is so much more nuanced nowadays, with the complexity of challenge facing leaders – managing potentially up to 3 generations of employees, producing results with less, being strategic whilst knowing the detail. Authentic leadership is being promoted, but really what does that mean? I remember a quote I heard years ago:
This implies stretching the teams thinking and challenging them to think broader. The leader has access to a wider business context than the team and can help to generate quality thinking through his/her questions. It also implies a level in faith in the team that they can come up with solutions themselves.
It is so easy to come up with a quick solution which moves the To Do list along. Some managers could be accused of asking questions but not really listening to the answers as they have made their minds up already. Asking the additional question “what else?” provides the team with the opportunity to look beyond the conscious closest answer, and accesses the less conscious ideas, ideas not yet thought of. A few more minutes can potentially generate better quality ideas.
The thinking environment provides leaders to generate ideas together in the team. Creating an environment where equal status exists can signal the value placed on all team members. The leader, by demonstrating that s/he is not the font of all knowledge, can work alongside the team in an adult-adult environment, and equal status is established. How much more productive could a team be if they did not feel they were being judged on their ideas, but valued for their contribution? How much more vulnerability does a leader need to display to show the team that s/he needs them?
I would suggest that in a world that is becoming more polarised and morphing at every turn it takes brave leaders to take time out to breathe…..just for a moment!
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