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The tangled team 

As humans generally like to know where we are going, what needs to be done and how we will be rewarded for that activity. When we are at work it is important to provide every one in your team with a role description, some key indicators for delivery and success and also the agreed and accepted behaviours for the team. It is also important to provide teams with clarity on who they can ask questions to and what is their escalation framework. Who am I accountable to? Who can I ask technical questions to? Who is my contact for organisational queries?

When a person does not know whom they are responsible to and what they are responsible for, they can get tangled. When someone is tangled they can waste time, fumble and in some cases guess or hide from their responsibilities.

So lets be clear about what we want to achieve, how we want to achieve it and how we can prevent tangling our teams. Lets ensure people are informed and clear about the reporting manager and support network. How do you ensure your team is untangled?

1.     Be clear about who reports to who and what your managers / team leaders are responsible for.

Elevating a person to a leader role is a great opportunity but it needs to come with instruction. Let your leaders know what they are supposed to be doing. For example some of these expectations that might apply to your leaders and if they don’t apply, who is responsible?

  • Leaders should be meeting with their team members 1:1 regularly, training team members, managing behaviours, onboarding new staff, allocating work and measuring delivery against indicators.
  • Leaders are responsible for setting the budgets, targets and performance measures of each of their team members.
  • Leaders are responsible for team dynamics, social interactions, fun and the wellbeing of their team.

2.     Ensure stakeholders and other managers engage and manage work in line with the hierarchy and functional role.

Have you ever found that person in an organsiation that is amazing and you go to them for everything? Keep them close but also remember that what you are asking them to do might actually reside in someone else’s role. Be conscious how and who you are engaging for projects and work and ensure they are the nominated or the best person for the task in relation to their roles and their managers preferences.

3.     Ensure everyone keeps an open door for clarification

Feeling confused about your role or not knowing where to turn to ask questions is a recipe for stress. If everyone in the team is clear on their roles, their objectives and the strategy of the team then technically everyone should be able to help with problem solving any queries or requests for help. Having a respectful and manageable, open door policy for questions is key to keeping your team clear and detangled in their objectives.

So if we are going to ask for the best possible effort from our team and ourselves. Let people succeed with a clear direction, clear responsibilities and a respectful way of allowing them to ask in need. It is easy to tangle a line. Often it is much more difficult to detangle it. Be clear at the start with the team and your colleagues and hopefully individuals will feel a sense of safety and empowerment.

Return to the Teamwork Series

For a further conversation about coaching, please contact me: louise.bodlander@llbc.com.au or my contact page. 

May 2018