In a recent NY Times interview, Fred Hassan, chairman of Bausch and Lomb, shared his philosophy about working with teams: “Roll up your sleeves, build credibility, and be very authentic with everybody so people start to believe you and trust you, and then get them to move together in the same direction.” I was impressed by this clear, succinct formula of how to powerfully connect with a team and methodically influence the journey. Visualize a leader sitting in a pile of papers and charts sifting though the data with a team of people doing the same. Hear the comments swirl:
“What are we going to do with so much conflicting information?”
“What will be our next steps?”
“This is impossible- we will never resolve this successfully!”
Looking around, you may be feeling similar, overwhelming thoughts, but should you be honest about how you see the project’s progress? Should you get involved in the execution or leave it to the team members? Should you try to “sugar-coat” what is happening to keep everyone calm and focused? These are all tough choices and decisions you may face daily. Here are some things you might want to think about:
If you are honest, the team will choose honesty:
When we model truth, we share how things are accurately progressing. We are not afraid to tell the facts because we know that working with full disclosure is how a team can address any roadblocks. Have you ever wished you were given more information instead of working with only part? If you had all the pieces, the solution might have looked very differently. Leading with honesty gives everyone a “leg up” on a great outcome.
If you are willing to get involved, the team will choose action steps:
When we are willing to get our hands dirty, we show the team we care. If everybody is being asked to come to work over the weekend, showing up is important for all. Each team member’s contribution is important and can realign a derailed project.
If you are clear in the direction, the team will choose clarity as they approach the project:
Making sure you use clear, direct and open communication models the way a team speaks and shares information with one another. I have seen situations where teams cannot understand why they are performing certain tasks because the leaders did not clearly explain how or why they were moving down a path. The result was blocked production and performance.
If you ask for input and ideas, the team will choose collaboration:
Partnering with the team in decision-making will send the message that each person is valuable and has important contributions to make. We know that when there is buy-in, there is mutual respect and support for the purpose of the project. It is always a win-win when everyone feels that their suggestions were included.
If you trust the people around you, the team will choose to trust you:
When you come through on your promises and do what you say you are going to do, the team will trust your actions and decisions. In turn, the team environment will be one of trust and respect. Trusting others by running with their ideas and giving them their due credit for jobs well done will boost an entire project.
When birds fly in a “V” formation, all in sync, they are choosing to trust each other to stay focused until they reach their final destination.
Choose to fly with the team united. Lead with honesty.
How do you help your team fly in the right direction? What has worked for you?