by Jeanet Wade, the ForbesBooks author of “The Human Team: So you created a team, but people showed up!”
In good and bad economic times, some businesses find a path to success while others are forced to step in their windows and doors.
What is the difference between those who soar and those who flounder?
Ultimately, business success depends on how well the employees of this company work. And employee performance, good or bad, can usually be traced back to leadership – regardless of whether the company leaders want to admit it or not.
When teams break down and employees break up, leaders and managers usually don’t question their own strategies. Instead, they blame the people charged with implementing these strategies. When they’re feeling benevolent, leaders and managers say these people are a bad fit. If they are not feeling benevolent, they call them whines, complainers, or failures.
But about 80 percent of the time, I believe that it’s not that people are the wrong people for the job, but that executives are unwilling to deal with what I call “human moments” because they are natural People don’t understand and address needs.
There are six facets of human needs that leaders must consider in order to expect teams to perform at their best.
These facets are:
In too many workplaces, people are unsure of what is expected of them or how their work fits into a larger plan. People in teams urgently need clarity, otherwise they will get confused. In particular, team members need to understand the purpose of the team itself, their role in it, the team’s results goals, and how their team fits into the larger organization.
Human connection is essential for healthy teams and is based on the connection to common core values, a physical place and a larger corporate culture. The trick is to make these connections. One way is an exercise that she calls 3-2-1. People in a group are asked to share three events they experienced, how they reacted to them, and how those events affected them. Then they share two childhood stories or adolescent memories of growing up. After all, they share one of their greatest fears.
Teams within an organization should never be larger than 15 people, and leadership teams should be even smaller. The reason: the bigger the team, the less likely individuals are to contribute. One of the best things we can do as leaders is recognizing the need for the human psyche to contribute and reward.
Leaders and managers are often reluctant to challenge others, says Wade, and don’t want to push people or make them uncomfortable. However, when we withhold opportunities that challenge people, we ultimately deny others an important human need. The trick is to make sure challenges are productive. They should be difficult, but not so overwhelming that people pull back if they miss out.
Everyone has a need to be recognized and valued, says Wade. Unfortunately, leaders and managers often spend so much time with toxic or underperforming people that they neglect everyone else. You cannot attract and retain top talent unless you show them respect and consideration at every stage of the journey. They need to be recognized for good work, considered for promotions, and reminded of their importance to the organization.
Trust is fragile and can be easily shaken, which is why it is vital for leaders to instill trust in their teams. People who fear failure hesitate, avoid difficult challenges, and are less productive. But when you have confidence, even the tough stuff doesn’t seem so daunting. When leaders, managers, or moderators help build trust in their teams, they can inspire others to achieve bold, unlikely goals.
When all six of these facets are fully considered in teams, people can merge, work in harmony, engage in healthy disagreements, and achieve important goals.
Jeanet Wade, the ForbesBooks writer of “The Human Team: So you started a team, but people showed up!” is a certified EOS® implementer and founder of the consulting company Business Alchemist. As a facilitator, teacher and coach, Wade supports companies in implementing the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), a set of business concepts, principles and tools that help business owners and executives run more successful companies.