Leading on a small team or leading on a big team, we are often faced with challenges that we didn’t see coming. All of sudden we recognize that the direction the team is moving is totally off course. In some of my workshops leaders even feel defeated or stuck in the middle of a road with no obvious cross streets to walk down. Then the words start to fly:
“I tried that approach before and it doesn’t work.”
“It’s not our responsibility. Ask the other team.”
“No one cares or values what I am doing. I am just a cog in a wheel.”
Just like glass balls that drop and shatter, so can teams falter and sense they are broken. In both cases, the shards of glass can’t remain lying around and the collapsed team can’t continue on the same course. The glass must be gathered together and removed. And if we want to lead and help our team reposition itself we need to change our thinking.
Here are four leadership mindsets that rock in challenging times:
1. NO DERAILMENT IS INSURMOUNTABLE
All teams go off track but that doesn’t mean we need to accept the current situation. There is always something that can be changed to allow a failing project or mangled work relationship to be better. Maybe not perfect. Just more manageable.
- Review why the project isn’t working and your part in the breakdown
- Make the team aware of the problem and share your understanding of what is happening without blaming
- Repair a broken relationship by taking the first step forward to reconciliation
- Turn “impossible” into “possibilities”
2. JUST BECAUSE IT DIDN’T WORK BEFORE DOESN’T MEAN IT WON’T WORK NOW
How many times have you or your teammates screamed out: “We tried this one before and it doesn’t work”? Thousands of times? It’s crazy how we are so fixed in never revisiting a strategy because we were unsuccessful in making it work in a previous situation. Things change. New information may actually lead to better results this time. By tweaking one piece of the deliverable may make the outcome highly successful. A recent team I worked with looked at an obstacle in a slightly different perspective and were thrilled with their results. They shared their excitement with the words: “We never thought about it in that way.”
3. ALLOW YOUR STRENGTHS AND RESOURCES TO TAKE THE LEAD
In order for leaders to transform their mindset from thinking “this is impossible” to “there’s a solution here”, they need to take a hard look at their strengths, talents and available resources. Here are some helpful questions to ask:
- Do I have the right skills to tackle this challenge?
- Would additional training or experience do the trick?
- What are my time constraints?
- Who else on the team might have the right strengths to help me on this project?
- Should I set up a coffee to talk to the team member or boss I am having conflict with?
4. EACH OF US MATTERS
A critical mindset for leaders to have is that every team member is important to the success of the team’s achievements. When team players feel valued and appreciated they will produce greater results. They will be more likely to roll up their sleeves when deadlines are approaching and offer their brains and brawn. One of my favorite mathematical equations to describe the benefit of teamwork is: 1+1=3. Yes! We can achieve far more as a team than the individuals working alone.
What leadership mindsets have you seen that rock?
(Image credit: Pixabay)