Are you having challenges when it comes to creating a team who works well together? When it comes to developing a champion team, there are principles that are not often spoken about which are vital to the success of your team working together, instead of a group of individuals hoping it all comes together at the end of the day.
I remember as a World Masters champion sportswoman, when on the field if we did not communicate we would not know what action our team members were about to take. We needed to hear the communication loud and clear so we knew exactly what support our team members needed. We needed to know exactly what move to make, where we needed to be positioned on the field in order to win the game.
Without clear and assertive communication our whole team would play as individuals without support. Without backup, we would not be able to create momentum. The game became much harder and not enjoyable to play with a whole pile of individuals not playing well together as a team.
I remember certain team members who did not have confidence in asserting themselves because they did not believe in their own abilities. This was when the team knew they needed to communicate early enough before the next play. In other words, the team had to carry that player. This was most frustrating at times because on the field you do not have time to wait as the gap of opportunity would close up very quickly.
Getting to know everyone’s communication style was the key. This meant getting to know each team member and finding out what they needed in the way of support for their full performance and potential to be played out on the field.
This was when I gave extra one-on-one time with team members who needed development and support; otherwise, the whole team would suffer. Yes, this takes time, but you will be surprised how quickly your team will step-up and lead with the qualities of a champion leader when you make time to get to know what they need. This is because they feel heard and understood.
For success in your professional and personal life, the same rule applies.
As your team moves into their plays, they will come up against challenges and the unexpected. They need to know how to read the play early and communicate before the play occurs in order to adapt to these challenges. If the communication is not loud and clear, then you will lose the game.
A champion leader inspires others by having an inquisitive communication style by asking open questions to evoke a deeper understanding of whom that person truly is. They are curious and listen with all their senses about what they are saying and what they are not saying. They see everyone as being the master of their own life who has the answers to all their questions.
The power of engaging communication is when you become the observer.
I like to call this the ‘helicopter view’. This is when you are able to be a witness of your own and of others’ communication style, where you listen without judgment. You will then know exactly what to say in the moment that will inspire and lead your team with respect, clarity, and acknowledgment.
This reminds me of a story about a client named Jordon, who came to me for leadership coaching, wanting to improve his team’s communication and efficiency. The first thing I asked him was, “When was the last time you acknowledged your team members?” With a proud smile on his face, he said, “I took them out to lunch to celebrate winning our last contract.”
“Great incentive for celebrating a milestone,” I answered. Then I asked another question, “When was the last time you acknowledged your team members on an individual basis, unexpectedly?” He looked at me in a puzzled manner and replied, “What do you mean, unexpectedly?”
I explained every one of his team members has strengths, qualities and natural talents they are using on a daily basis. If he began to acknowledge his team members for their natural talents, instead of taking their strengths for granted, then each individual will start to feel more and more confident to the degree that even their so-called ‘weaknesses’ will become strengths. This will shift the energy, attitude, and mindset of all team members to work in harmony with efficient and effective results.
The challenge I gave Jordon was to genuinely acknowledge team members for one of their natural talents during the next week. He did this, and to his surprise, he noticed a dynamic shift in the efficiency of the team working together.
An added bonus was while he had always had an ‘open door’ policy; the team had never used it. After he started to acknowledge them, they felt much more confident and comfortable to communicate any challenges, or concerns, before they got out of hand. Much to Jordon’s surprise he even witnessed the team members starting to acknowledge each other more.
The other challenge I gave Jordon for that week, was to have him acknowledge his wife for something he really appreciated, on three separate occasions. You can imagine how he was feeling the following week when we had our next coaching session! Yes, by acknowledging his wife regularly, he had also improved his relationship with her. This effect also rippled out to their children.
Even when there is nothing wrong in a relationship, there is always room for improvement, which is not highlighted until you do something different, and outside the square.
I have used Jordon’s example with team leadership acknowledgment; however, the same applies to all situations when working with people.
This includes acknowledgment of family members, sporting clubs you may be involved with, working environments, business owners and staff, parents and children at school, etc.
If you are having challenges in developing a powerful team that works well together, do not waste another minute banging your head against a brick wall, contact me today for an introductory coaching conversation about your communication and leadership style. www.annettestanton.com/contact/
Once you have read the article, leave a comment and let me know…
What’s the single most important action you can take right now towards developing your engaging communication style?
If you know of a leader who is being challenged in developing the art of engaging communication, please share this article.
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