I spent the day with a leadership team recently that has a big job to do and is receiving limited resources, changing targets, and ever demanding customer expectations. Sound familiar? The goal is to help this team figure out how to survive/thrive over the next 18 months despite the uncertainty of the environment they operate in.
We used the Birkman Method, which is the most effective tool I have found to help teams in this discussion because it measures our Usual Working Style (what people see under normal circumstances), what our Needs are (often different than how we act), and it names the stress behaviors that result if our needs are not being met. The A-HA moment for the team came when most ended up in the stress behavior of hyper-task focus when the pressure really hit (ie. needs not being met).
It is not uncommon for an individual leader to look at a chart like this and make the statement – “I can handle lots of stress”. That is true for most leaders, they push through challenges well and find ways to get to the other side. But what about the people these same leaders lead? The second A-HA for this team was the feedback their teams had just given them on an employee survey. One of the issues highlighted was understanding what their roles were and communication of what is happening. Hmmm . . . .
Leadership is hard, and probably especially hard right now. Taking the time to look in the mirror at a time like this is even harder, because it takes resources (time/money) and we are bound to see something that will ask us to change. Yet, teams that are successfully growing a business have something to celebrate. Part of that celebration should be the question “What can we do to make the next 18 months easier (on our teams/self) and better.
It is good to take a quick look every now and then, remembering the talents that have come together to move the organization are good, and yet there still might be an easier way to go forward.
When are you/your team planning the next look in the mirror?