Creating a team built for excellence within your organization has direct benefits for the team lead as well as the organization at large. A high-performing team is focused on problem-solving; removing individual ego and ambition to focus on delivering great results. The team is outcome-oriented, prioritizing results over process by adopting speed, cross-functional collaboration and fluid working arrangements.
The true value of a high-performing team and the effectiveness of its leader become all the more visible during major disruptions such as the Covid-19 pandemic. These teams are characterized by their strategic resilience, their ability to pivot and bounce back from non-responsive channels and their constant commitment to innovating their way out of daunting challenges.
An effective leader must appreciate that great ideas can come from any member of the team. As a leader, you don’t have all the answers and may need to listen more to your employees — even employees who may not be directly responsible for providing the solutions in a given project. In times of disruption, leaders must operate a truly open-door policy, making it possible for team members to approach you with their ideas, concerns or findings. Encourage everyone across the board to get involved in problem-solving. They may surprise you with their insights. For example, Millennials are in tune with the digital trends and emerging technologies and may be able to spark an idea that helps the organization pivot effectively. More experienced team members are able to offer the benefit of their years in the industry and propose tried and tested solutions to knotty challenges.
Ideas are important, but they need to be realistic and achievable. Overly ambitious thinking and strict adherence to rigid processes may be counterproductive. It is helpful to be selective about how time is spent and what the team focuses on, so it is the leader’s responsibility to keep the team grounded in reality while adapting to the “new normal.”
It is also important for leaders to lead with transparency. Speaking with honesty and optimism gives the team a fuller picture of the disruption the organization may be facing, resulting in more joined-up solution ideation. People value honesty and authenticity, so leaders must be clear about the facts of any given situation and embrace reality. It may be tempting to conceal some truths for fear of risks to the organization or negatively impacting employee morale, but it is possible to communicate events to colleagues in a manner that empowers and offers hope without glossing over the facts.
As a leader, you can be clear about the workplace situation. You cannot always guarantee certainty, but clarity offers the confidence that the leader is sharing what they know and will review the situation should things change.
Successful leadership recognizes the importance of brave new thinking: challenging existing norms and assumptions, finding more cost-effective ways of doing business and exploring alternative supply chain management models or new customer channels. Give your team the opportunity to shoot for the stars — not just to uncover bold ideas, but to create new ways to achieve them and facilitate growth. Innovation-driven growth is required if an organization is to stay on track, stay relevant and thrive in a corporate world that will only become more competitive as organizations work to make up lost ground.
If the “new normal” has taught us anything, it is that we will often need to do more with less. A smaller budget, fewer employees, a reduced customer base, more restrictions on travel and meetings and the ever-present need to make up for lost time — effective leadership means maximizing resources and this may often require leveraging team talent, technology and unconventional work structures. Review dormant talents within your team and encourage (and, in some cases, reward) volunteering for certain roles. Create structures that work around team members’ unique situations. A good leader might consider remote working for mothers of young children or virtual team meetings that encourage global participation from international branches or strategic partners.
Employees remain the biggest asset any organization has and they are as impacted by major events as the leadership and the organization itself. In a post-pandemic world, strong leadership displays empathy. This is an important time to show you value your employees as people and that you understand that they are affected by substantial workplace changes too. Stay connected and in tune with what your team is going through. Do not set unrealistic expectations. A focus on the bottom-line must not blind you to the difficulty some team members may be experiencing in trying to get the same results they easily attained a few years ago. Your customers and partners are challenged, too, and an empathetic ear will yield higher performance and more positive results long-term than a constant focus on profits and productivity.
A strong team is created by recruiting the best-qualified people for the job, but a high-performing team is created through strong, effective leadership. These five behaviors will not only yield great results but will, more importantly, foster the work culture in which the best people thrive.
This article was originally published on Forbes > Click here.