All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy.
This saying makes me chuckle a bit. I don’t know who Jack is, or who decided to pick on him for this specific quote, but I have definitely known many “Jacks” in my time, and many years ago, I was Jack too! (I have to qualify this last statement…”Jack” in this context is the guy who overworks, I also know people named Jack, and ironically all of them are fun and fabulous people)
This is pretty easy to understand. If all you do is work, life in general will probably not be very good. I’m obviously a huge fan of living the life you want in the best way possible, so you know I’m a fan of, and an example of, balance. I work diligently and I play all out.
While this would be fun to keep talking about, this article is about how to achieve high performance in your team, so lets’ go to that and how this applies from a purposeful standpoint.
Balance in the Team Starts with the Leader and Each Team-member.
The leader sets the tone in general, and very much so for each person specifically. As a leader it is incredibly easy to be on task so much that we forget the relationship side of those we lead.
By nature, leaders have a lot on their plate. If the leader is not highly competent in prioritization and time utilization it feels like the plate is even fuller than it actually is. In the case of a leader that lacks these skills (and as someone who trains these skills for companies, I can tell you that a lot of people in leadership do not have them at a high level), they tend to be operating in a constant state of overwhelm to some degree. The more overwhelm there is, the more of a reactive state there will be, and this is not the environment to build sustainable high performance, because relationships suffer (among other things).
This is further exacerbated by personality and behavioral style. If you are naturally task oriented as opposed to people oriented, you will tend not to pay any attention to the relationships the busier you are. And since the leader is setting the example, this will spill over into how the team will conduct themselves.
Each person you work with in your team has two modes that need attending to in general. The practical work part and the personal relationship part. You have to be attentive consistently to both parts. Every interaction you have has to consider both as a general rule. Sure, there are times, given the situation where there is no time to mince words, but this needs to be the exception, not the rule.
There is a specific leadership communication formula for this that I teach to leaders, but for the sake of this article, the awareness is where it starts. You have to cultivate the mindset that while the job the person does is important, it is not more important than the PERSON doing the job.
If you are seen as ONLY about the work, you will be seen as self-focused, because the team member knows that you are on the hook for the overall results. This will reduce your credibility (which is a trust) with the team member. As a result you will only ever get a level of production that equates to what someone has to do, instead of what they want to do, because the team will see you as using them for your own achievement.
You have to be seen as caring about the human being, and as someone who is focused on growing the success of the team by growing the people IN the team.
This requires a balanced approach of personal and practical.
The Team Effect
The team will typically take on the example set by the leader without conscious effort. This is why the leader’s interactions are such a big deal.
The other thing that needs to be balanced is the task of the team and the overall relationship of the team. This too is a result of the leader’s approach.
All you have to do is think of it from the standpoint of NOT balancing to see the importance.
If all the team does is focus on task, then the people will have little relationship aside from how the work parts fit. No relationship equals no trust. This leads to all kinds of issues. Pat Lencioni’s book the “5 Dysfunctions of a Team” does a great job of showing how absence of trust is the foundation for all other resulting dysfunctions. This isn’t theory. It’s reality.
There are so many issues in a team that arise from lack of trust, you could bullet point full pages with them. This will erupt during times of difficulty especially, which is exactly when you most need harmony.
The other side of the issue is easier to see for most doers in leadership. If there is too much focus on relationship and not enough on task. This is so obvious we don’t need to talk about it, and the reality is that this is rare in today’s compressed organizations anyway.
As a leader, you have to be much more purposeful in creating opportunities for relationship building. You can do this inside work, by making sure a team meeting also has some personal touch to it, and outside of work by getting together in some capacity.
Just to reiterate, because it’s so darn important, the leader has to be investing in each relationship first to set the tone, and then the team dynamic can be attended to in a genuine way.
The Last Nugget…
This may be last, but it is by no means the least. As the leader, to maximize all the potential of you and the team, you are best served by using the 3 Circles Living platform for yourself and encouraging this model in the team.
Why? Because you have to be the best you can be and set an example someone else would want to follow. That’s for you…and them. The other side of this though, is that encouraging this approach to life and work demonstrates that you really do care.
You CANNOT tell people that you care. That is hollow. You have to care, and they will feel it.
By modeling and communicating the importance of taking care of self, developing self, and attending to relationships you are showing care, and with it, positioning you and your team to be incredibly high functioning sustainably.
It’s all a balance.
I hope this is helpful for you.
Many Blessings, Todd
P.S. If you are in need of coaching or training for your organization, reach out to me.
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