BLOG: Extraordinary Leadership and High Functioning Teams

Building Effective Teams by Confronting Conflict

Posted by Kristin Dressel on Thu, Aug 20, 2015

Here's an interesting statistic to learn:


Source: DeChurch, Mesmer-Magnus, and Doty, Mega-analysis of 45 different studies with over 3000 teams.

All organizations have to deal with teams in conflict sooner or later. Successfully moving from a dysfunctional team to a highly functional one, begins with facing HOW you deal with conflict within the team. Is it a free-for-all where everybody talks over everyone else and nobody is listening? Or is it a constructive debate about various ideas and points of views where everyone is respectful of each other even when they disagree?

At your next team meeting, implement “critique & cooperate”. Ask each team member to offer one critique of what the team can do better (i.e. meetings should start on time and everyone should be respectful of the start time and not show up late – no finger pointing or naming names). Then have each person offer how he or she will cooperate with each suggested improvement. Oftentimes it’s too easy for team members to think someone else is the problem or solution. But when everyone has to contribute ideas and everyone has to offer solutions, then people move from blaming to sharing responsibility.

prepare for a difficult conversation in the workplace


Tags: difficult conversations, high functioning teams, high performing teams

Highly Effective Teams are Vital to Organizations

Posted by Kristin Dressel on Tue, Aug 18, 2015

Research last year from the Human Capital Institute on “Designing Effective Teams” showed the following:


How many employees in your organization would rate their workplace teams as “very effective”? Unfortunately it’s probably much fewer than you want to believe. Here’s an idea: take the time today to go around to your team members/department/staff and ask each person privately to rate how effective the team is at performing and accomplishing team goals. Encourage each person to be completely honest and then ask for their feedback on ways the team can improve to become more effective. This isn’t about pointing fingers at people to blame them; it’s about gathering different people’s perspectives on the team’s weaknesses and different strategies for changing them for the better.

Increasing a team’s effectiveness could be as simple as holding more team building activities, taking them out to lunch to reward them for their hard work, or holding a team meeting with a coach to have an impartial third party review ways to improve team effectiveness. But you’ll never know how your team members really feel about how well (or poorly) they’re performing if you don’t ask for their input.

team leaders develop trust on your team in the workplace

Tags: improve workplace relationships, high functioning teams, high performing teams

3 Ways to Move From Stuck-where-we-are to Exploring-what’s-next

Posted by Andrea Hopke on Tue, Aug 11, 2015

CC_leadership_005-resized-600In our leadership development work, whether providing executive coaching to support an individual moving into a more senior position or training leaders across functions within an organization, there is one speed bump we run into nearly every time which needs to be addressed before significant progress can be made. It is the belief that the leader must be The Expert and he/she must have all the answers. The Expert should be directing others, telling them what to do, and solving the problems. Often, this tends to be a cultural issue, organizationally embedded, where hierarchy and silos are more the norm than is risk taking, vulnerability or unbridled creativity.  

So, what’s so challenging about this belief in expertise? Because if we don’t question this mindset, we may get stuck in one mode, the way we’ve always done it, the way I was taught, the way my boss did it. We don’t develop our own capabilities, and, worse, we may not be developing the talent around us in a positive, productive way.   

There are certain predictable behaviors that we find underpinning this limiting belief: the tendency to tell versus ask for input or help, the need to be right, and the inability to delegate effectively. 

1. Telling Versus Asking 

Take stock: in your organization, what’s the reward for having all the answers? Or does your organization encourage seekers and those who are curious, who ask - hey, what do you think?  

Somewhere along the way, as we grew up, went to school, and started our first jobs, we adopted the notion that we must present to the world the image of a person who is expert in some area or function. That we have the answers. We know what to do. And certainly that has to be true in many situations—you were hired because you know how to run a distribution center, or you have expertise building new business, or you are really great at designing new products. That’s why your company and your teammates count on you, right?  

But balanced against that role and responsibility is the dynamic of humility which reasonably suggests you don’t actually have all the answers, and, more, that you may not be seeing everything as clearly as you thought. The excuse we hear most of the time is exactly that—time. “I don’t have time to ask questions; the pace here is brutal and we just have to keep moving.” So we go back to barking orders and heads down productivity…but, guess what? That new process that went live last month is not streamlining work production; it’s actually slowing down communication, causing confusion and costing twice as much. If we don’t stop to ask, "what’s working here?” we miss the signs until poor engagement scores and excessive turnover slap us in the face. 

How well do your leaders coach their team members? On the graph below, where do you and your organization fall in terms of encouraging an environment of asking questions, the kind of questions that not only get at information and truth, but questions that open us all up to other possibilities, that encourage participation at all levels within the organization?


2. The Need to be Right - Closed Versus Open

When we think or feel we must always have the answers, there is little room for behaviors that invite others into a potentially creative discussion that could lead to even better answers. We get stuck in a sense of our own right-ness and having to prove it every day. Where did that come from?

I was walking behind two parents and a child of about 5 last week in a park and started to notice a pattern in their discussion. The child would make a comment, "Mommy, look at the loud bicycle", and the parent would correct her: "That’s actually a motorcycle, not a bike."  Child, spying an ice cream vendor, "Oh, ice cream!!" Parent, "It’s too early in the day for that."

So what’s wrong with being right? (And who says not having ice cream at 10AM is wrong?) When being right becomes the mantle we hold onto in all situations, we are constantly in the position of proving our points or persuading others (think, politics). We shut down others’ natural curiosity and suggestions. We limit the view we can take on a situation and therefore the possibility for a new resolution.

So, again, on the above graph, where do you and your organization fall in terms of allowing everyone to share in expertise, to offer ideas and suggestions, even when not formally trained in a particular lane? Is your company more likely to support the hierarchy of title, the power of "the boss", or more inclined to invite a variety of input from many sources?

3. Inability to Delegate Effectively

Consider the difference between providing direction—the vision of where we collectively want to steer the team, department, organization—and literally telling someone what to do to get there. One of the complaints we often hear voiced by senior executives about their direct reports is, “I wish they would just step up more.” Why don’t they? For starters, lack of clarity about the overarching direction. And against that backdrop, poor delegation skills. What limits effective delegation? In part, we see it as a control issue, particularly for new managers and leaders raised in The Expert tradition. Fear of letting go of control, allowing others to participate in a decision, allowing someone else to be right. There is certainly an art to providing enough direction so that the desired outcome is clear and enough empowerment so that the individual takes the reigns.

Face it, if you are stuck in the lower right hand quadrant of the above graph, you must be absolutely exhausted - always needing to be right, telling everyone what to do, solving all problems. What would it take to shift above the line, to start asking questions that expand the thinking and exploration toward new processes, products or business growth?

Here’s your fieldwork - try these three next time you’re in a conversation. Ask:

1) What do you think?

2) Who else can we talk to about this for ideas and input?

3) What needs to happen next in order for that (desired outcome) to occur and who can handle it?

Examine Your Coaching Ability

Tags: corporate culture, leadership secrets, Coaching Skills

Survey Results: The Top 3 Challenges Facing Organizations

Posted by Kristin Dressel on Tue, Jul 28, 2015

Recently we posted a survey asking managers and leaders to answer the following question: “What are your organization’s biggest challenges in 2015 regarding talent?” Respondents were able to pick their top 3 concerns and without question they are:

  • Building trust on teams
  • Engaging and retaining employees
  • Improving bottom line results

cc_survey_results_July_2015Are you facing these concerns at your organization? Each one presents a challenging situation to any business and all three are inextricably linked together. You can’t get an improved bottom line without engaging and retaining your employees. And leaders understand that their team needs to trust one another in order to increase productivity and improve results. How stressed out are your employees trying to manage all of this?

In today’s chaotic and fast-paced business environments it seems like everyone from the executive level down to the line staff is under pressure to constantly improve results. But it’s not enough just to demand higher results; the company has to provide the support, training and resources necessary to achieve it. Has your company offered team development workshops to improve the trust and communication on workplace teams? If not, how can any organization expect a team to increase their performance levels if they don’t understand each other and know how to work together better?

Likewise, your company wants to engage and retain employees, especially the high performing ones. Have you rewarded or recognized their efforts lately? When was the last time you selected them for leadership training so they can be better prepared for the next career level at your organization?

If your company is having difficulty retaining key employees ask them what you can do to keep them. A higher salary is always nice, but many people will stay if they feel appreciated and if they know of a clear career path within the organization. The companies that provide training and development for their employees will be able to retain their employees better than companies who don’t.

Coaching and developing employees is necessary in today’s business climate in order to retain employees and remain competitive. It’s simply not enough to offer a company picnic once a year and expect your employees to stay content. By taking the time now to invest in your employees and teams by training and developing them will pay dividends over the long haul.

team leaders develop trust on your team in the workplace

Tags: building trust, employee engagement, Building a Leadership Bench

Coaching and Developing Employees to Success

Posted by Kristin Dressel on Wed, Jul 22, 2015

cc_coaching_skills_03As my daughter swam in the state long course swim championships this past weekend, I thought about how her swim coach needs to train and develop her swimming talent just like a manager who needs to train and develop the talent on his team. After each race during the competition, he talked to her about what she did well and what to focus on for the next race. He makes training fun sometimes and more challenging at other times to push her to higher goals; and listens to her when she reaches a plateau and is frustrated from her lack of progress.

How good are you at coaching and developing employees? An excellent coach in any arena (business, sport, etc.) needs to be able to do the following:

  •          Listen
  •          Ask questions to uncover roadblocks/solutions
  •          Believe people can get better
  •          Encourage them
  •          Hold people accountable
  •          Celebrate accomplishments
  •          Motivate higher levels of performance
  •          Know your people

If the talent on your team isn’t accomplishing what you believe them to be capable, have you determined what you need to do as their coach/boss to help them get there? Can you honestly look at the list above and say you consistently perform all of those behaviors for each team member?

As the leader, you need to be many things to many different personalities and what works for one person may not work for someone else. Maybe one person needs you to recognize them when they meet small goals. Perhaps another person just wants you to listen to them while they try to process the problem and discover the solution.cc_disc_workshop_002

Learning the workstyle of yourself and your team through a DiSC workshop will help illuminate better ways to communicate with each one, learn what is more important to them and identify each person’s strengths and weaknesses. Greater understanding leads to higher performance. So take the time to learn about your team and each person’s workstyle and preferences. You’ll be developing talent and improving your ability to coach your team while increasing your team’s performance levels. Now, if only my daughter would listen to her swim coach so she could improve her performance!

Learn How DiSC Can Transform Your Team

Tags: DiSC assessments, Coaching Skills, leadership coaching

Does Your Organization Have the Summertime Blues?

Posted by Kristin Dressel on Tue, Jun 30, 2015

clearwater_nature_006The summer is when people take their vacation, lie on the beach and contemplate their life thinking about what makes them happy, the many stresses they put up with at work, and where they want to go next in their career. Often it’s during this time of the year that your employees are deciding if they’re going to start looking for another job.

There is an abundance of research and a common phrase that suggests employees don’t quit their jobs, they quit their boss, manager or company. Are your employees going to come back from vacation ready to look for a new job? If so, then think about what’s truly causing the blues at your company.

Consider the following questions carefully and answer them honestly, then determine ways your organization can improve the culture.

Do your employees lack commitment?

If your employees lack commitment, then start showing and telling them why you value them. When was the last time the leaders in your company showed their gratitude or recognized excellent work among their employees? Recognition needs to be consistent, clearly communicated (or shown), and completed on a regular basis. It’s not enough to recognize a star performer all the time. Be sure to acknowledge the efforts of everyone. Just by simply thanking someone for a job well done can be a big boost to his or her level of commitment to the company.

Are dysfunctional teams running amok?

Be honest, does your company really know how to develop high-functioning teams? If a team is performing well, it might be dumb luck or a team leader who’s had excellent leadership training. Most people don’t know how to lead a team and, likewise, most team members don’t know how to effectively collaborate together. These are skills that can be learned by everyone. Make a commitment to implement a policy in your company to develop high-functioning teams by training teams on better communication and collaboration skills through a better understanding of each team members’ workstyle. Whether they are newly formed teams, departmental teams, special project teams, or another type of team, every team will benefit from team development training.

Is the culture too competitive?cc_collaborative_leadership_002

An organization is considered too competitive when leaders position - pit - employees against one another to get ahead and employees are encouraged to have an “every man for himself” attitude. Too much competition breeds secrecy, lies, fear, cutthroat behavior, negativity, fat egos, distrust and a complete lack of collaboration. How can anything get accomplished if employees wonder about the ulterior motives of others?

A competitive culture can also develop when the company structure is chaotic and hard to figure out. Does your organization have a clear path of development for employees? Are they supported and encouraged by their leaders to advance to the next level? Or is everyone left to figure it out for themselves and the last one standing wins? Communicate your company’s values and mission clearly and speak out against tolerating destructive behaviors that harm not only the employees, but the organization as a whole. Then, develop and train your employees to become your organization’s future leaders who are passionate about the company’s values, not feeding their own ego.

These are just a few of the questions smart companies should ask themselves about their current state of affairs. The first step to making any changes begins with acknowledging there is a problem. If your company is experiencing the summertime “blues”, then don’t wait to start now implementing new practices that can have positive impact now, or it might be too late.

team leaders develop trust on your team in the workplace

Tags: corporate culture, organizational change, improve workplace relationships

The Top Organizational Challenges

Posted by Kristin Dressel on Thu, Jun 25, 2015

CC_leadership_diversity_002-resized-600What are your organization’s biggest challenges this year regarding talent? This and two other short questions are part of our new survey and we need your input! We are asking our readers to provide their opinion on topics of interest and challenges. Now that the year is half over, it’s the perfect time to identify what situations you are facing.

Click here to take survey

Take 2 minutes to let us know what talent challenges you are facing at your company and what leadership topics interest you most. We will publish the results of the survey in a couple of weeks! We value your input and appreciate you taking the time to share your opinion.


Tags: corporate culture, Building a Leadership Bench, Feedback

Positive Behaviors for Handling Conflict

Posted by Kristin Dressel on Tue, Jun 16, 2015

cc_tough_talk_002Every organization faces conflict among team members, breakdowns in communication and behaviors that create more dysfunction than function.  How your leaders handle these challenges becomes the standard which all employees follow. If the team leader is selfish and has a “me first” attitude, then employees will follow suit. If the leader is compassionate and good at listening, then, likewise, the others on his/her team echo that behavior.

To foster an open and safe environment in your organization encourage your leaders to exhibit these 5 positive behaviors when dealing with conflict.

Maintain a Calm Demeanor

Avoid retreating from conflict or caving in to avoid facing tension in a situation. Employees need their team leaders to remain calm when facing a crisis and to tackle it directly, learning the facts of the situation, understanding what has already occurred, what is possible in terms of resolution. Panic is contagious.  So is calmness.

Focus on Logic & Objectivity

Building on that point, discuss with your leaders the importance of focusing on the facts of each difficult situation and maintaining objectivity throughout. It is easy for any leader to become overwhelmed with problems, but helping them approach issues objectively and logically improves their ability to clearly determine solutions.

Speak up About Problems

It may be tempting to ignore tension and problems or want to sweep them under the rug, or assume that someone else will handle them.  Leadership is about quickly identifying and addressing issues that face the department so the situation doesn’t escalate. When confronting conflict, encourage your team to resist the blame game, or becoming aggressive and saying something he/she will regret. Creating a safe environment in which to identify what is not working is a leader’s responsibility.

Show Empathy

cc_coaching_skills_for_leaders_002Leaders can set a good example by showing empathy to others on the team, even the people with whom they disagree. Train your leaders to focus first on understanding someone’s perspective before trying to get their own point across. And, every leader can set a positive tone by prohibiting gossip and reminding others of the golden rule: “do unto others as you would have them do to you.”

Listen to Others’ Perspectives

Don’t let the “quiet mice” in your company get away with not providing their opinions. Every person has value and it’s important to listen to everyone’s input and perspective. You never know where the solution to a problem will come from and the source may surprise you. When your leaders excel at listening, they help build confidence among others and validate the importance of everyone’s contributions.

Leaders are under constant stress to keep their team and department functioning at a high level while producing the results your organization demands even in the midst of dramatic change. Conflict is difficult in any organization, but every company would benefit by encouraging these positive behaviors among their leaders, setting a great example for the other employees to follow and help begin eliminating dysfunction, improving communication and reducing tension.

Prepare for Difficult Conversations Worksheet

Tags: improve workplace relationships, difficult conversations, Emotional Intelligence, Coaching Skills

3 Reasons Why It's Hard to Create a Coaching Culture

Posted by Rebecca Dannenfelser on Fri, May 29, 2015

"We want to create a coaching culture."

cc_leadership_011We work with companies to create cultures where business results flourish. Most of the time, we are called in because an engagement survey has produced some abysmal results, or retention of top talent is waning or because a new change transformation initiative is failing. Partnering with a C-level executive or a top leader in HR usually produces a desire to see leaders at the top engage in developmental practices that support their people so that the people take better care of the results. 

Most of the companies we see say they need leaders who can:

  • Coach others
  • Motivate their teams to achieve goals and results
  • Deliver feedback that empowers

Nine times out of 10 they say: "We want to create a coaching culture."

So what stops an organization from developing talented senior and mid level leaders who know how to coach? In our work, we observe there are 3 key things that prohibit an organization from creating a coaching culture.

1. Leaders don't know how to coach despite thinking that they do!

  • Only 11% of senior leaders actively use coaching despite 70% of organizations claiming they coach their people (Bersin “High- Impact Performance Management: Part 1- Designing a Strategy for Effectiveness, August 2011).
  • First hand experience training over 1000 leaders in the acquisition of coaching skills with only 3% demonstrating understanding of what it takes to coach direct reports prior to the training despite claims that they know how to coach!

CASE STUDYCC_communication_01

Consider Jane, a VP of sales in a $500.0m company. She has been a leader in 4 other companies, always in a sales management or leadership role. She considers herself a very strong coach, so when her engagement scores on “my manager regularly coaches me to find my own solutions to problems” demonstrated a low score of 45%, Jane was shocked. When we sat with her and explored what coaching looked like to her, we discovered Jane thought if she told her people what to do in an open and friendly manner, this was coaching. Her company was implementing a “leader as coach program” and she quickly realized that coaching was more about listening, asking open-ended questions and allowing her people to find their own solutions.

2. Leaders don't listen!

One of the fundamental, foundational skills needed to coach others is the ability to truly listen when you ask a question. It's our observation that a lot of leaders inside companies:

  • Lack the patience to truly listen, so they interrupt
  • Ask questions without waiting long enough for the person to form their thoughts
  • Ask questions that they feel have only one answer - their own
  • Over-rely on directing others so they are more comfortable listening to their own voices, ideas, and opinions

Tom Peters one of our favorite authors on leadership and management, makes a great point on the crucial importance for leaders to learn to listen strategically longer than 18 seconds. Tom says, "the single most significant strategic strength that an organization can have is not a good strategic plan, but a commitment to strategic listening on the part of every member of the organization." Watch the video here

cc_coaching_skills_043. Leaders don't ask the right questions!   

Leaders tend to ask questions that are leading, lack transparency and do not motivate people to find their own solutions. This is really not that hard, yet we see leaders get confused about how to use great questions to move the coaching conversation forward. Unfortunately, too often we see leaders who:

  • Start their questions with, "now wouldn't you agree this is a better way to do this?"
  • Ask questions that are yes/no or close-ended, shutting down any dialogue
  • Use rapid-fire questions to berate or "trap" people
  • Use the proverbial "we" to describe what's happening, as in "I called you in to talk about your performance because we have a problem"
  • Over-use "why" which causes defensive reactions

Open-ended questions encourage direct reports to brain- storm their own solutions, so a leader can understand how they think. This empowering approach leads to greater accountability from the direct report to solve his/her problems, while fostering belief in their own abilities. 


Consider Tom, a VP of Advertising. He has worked for his current company for 5 years. Every year, he takes time to create the goals for each of his 7 direct reports. He spends many hours working up the ideas, strategies and advertising campaign money each direct report will collect. The budget calls for an aggressive 15% increase this year. After completing the coaching training program, he decides to take a risk and do things differently. He calls his direct reports in and tells them he wants them to develop their own plans to present to him the following week. His biggest fear was that his team would not be able to create strong enough goals to produce the 15%. He was pleasantly surprised when his team rolled up a budget of 20% over last year. He realized that he had been holding them back! They had ideas and solutions that allowed them to buy in at a higher level when the ideas were their own! cc_coaching_skills_07

If you truly want to create a coaching culture in your organization, you need to acknowledge that people probably don’t know how to coach, don’t know how to listen and ask questions that motivate those they lead. But, don’t give up hope!

It’s our greatest joy when we see the light bulb go off for the leaders we’ve trained and they really start to understand what it takes to be a “leader as coach.” For while the impact on the direct report is substantial, it’s amazing what can happen to the leader when they engage in coaching practices. They finally get to see what they’ve been missing—a real chance to get the most from their people and to be free to worry about that vision, alignment and execution thing!

What’s your biggest roadblock to creating a coaching culture? Do your leaders have the skills to coach others?

Examine Your Coaching Ability


Tags: corporate culture, Coaching Skills, leadership coaching

3 Ways Leaders Erode Trust Inside an Organization

Posted by Rebecca Dannenfelser on Wed, May 20, 2015

clearwater_leaders_009-resized-600Organizations know that teams are the lifeblood of how work gets done. And, it’s understood that highly effective teams where trust abounds produce greater results, higher morale and retain talent for the future. The field of positivity supplies vast amounts of research on the connection between trust, positivity and results and the impact they produce on engagement levels and culture. So what’s stopping organizations and their leaders from developing teams with higher levels of trust?

First let’s explore what comes to mind when you hear someone describe a trustworthy leader? In our work over the past ten years with over 2000 leaders, a leader is considered trustworthy when he/she:

  • Keeps commitments
  • Possesses integrity
  • Displays honesty
  • Has your back
  • Does his/her part
  • Is reliable
  • Has a code of conduct
  • Knows and lives his/her values

Patrick Lencioni’s 5 Behaviors’ of a Cohesive Team Model builds on this definition of a trustworthy leader, and tells us all those things are true but you have to have more. The intangible ability to be vulnerable is the “real deal” when it comes to building trust and creating the foundation of an engaged culture.CC_5_behaviors_team_01

Does your team trust one another? Do they trust you as the team leader? To understand what you need to do to build trust on your teams and across your organizations, you need to also grasp what you need to stop doing that is hurting your ability to build trust.

Trust Destroyer #1- A Leader Who Can’t admit To Being Wrong

Years ago, I worked for a leader who could never admit anything was his fault. He was always right, infallible. If we disagreed on something about the direction of the business, and things heated up between us, he came out swinging. The closest he ever came to saying he was wrong? “Next time, don't let things get so out of hand between us”, he’d say, as if it were up to me to control what would escalate between us. And, I wasn't the only person on the team that struggled with his self-righteousness. Never being wrong made people want to avoid him, or partner with others on the team instead of with him on projects. It was a real shame because he had a true knack for business, was wicked smart and great with client execution. He eventually left the company because when his business results started to slide, he couldn’t admit anything was his fault.

Sadly, those types of leaders are still roaming inside organizations today wreaking havoc on their own teams and the ability for teams to cross functionally work together. Despite what we have learned about engagement and empowerment and the value of learning from mistakes, many leaders continue to drink from the fountain of “I’m right and you’re wrong”. They simply don’t know how to be real—to be vulnerable, self-reflective and to own their own mistakes.

Learn to Embrace Vulnerability

You may be the team leader but that doesn’t mean that you have all of the answers. It’s okay to admit your weaknesses to your team. By being open to your team members, you can begin to build trust with them by modeling openness, transparency, and asking your team for feedback. Let your team members know that they should ask questions and provide input regarding the direction of the team. By embracing vulnerability as the team leader, you can help the rest of your team become more open with a willingness to share weaknesses, ask questions, and provide feedback. This is one of the key pillars for building trust on your team.

Trust Destroyer #2- A Leader Who Won’t Apologize

CC_leadership_006It’s bad enough when a leader can’t or won’t ever admit to being wrong, but layer on a leader who even when it’s known they screwed up not admitting that they did and you have a leader who is demoralizing the spirit of the team. A recent client experienced this first hand. Upon starting her new role, she was asked to focus on price when negotiating with suppliers, even when that meant putting pressure on the suppliers to take risks. She became alarmed when she discovered this pressure was causing the suppliers to take risks that would hurt the brand and put the company at risk. Sharing this news with her CEO produced a startling reaction. Instead of being pleased that she had uncovered news that could hurt the company, she was scolded and blamed for the pressure the suppliers felt to cut corners. Our client knew she was going to be blamed for this huge mess so she left the company. What hurt her the most? The CEO’s inability to apologize or acknowledge the role he played in the problem. High turnover and low morale remain persistently present in this culture, with the organization now looking for their 3rd leader over the past 5 years. It’s no wonder, the business is struggling and people are leaving the team and the company.

Learn to Apologize

Do you admit your mistakes to your team? Are you afraid to apologize to your team because you think they won’t believe your or want to follow you? Apologizing to your team for past errors, lack of judgment, behavioral outbursts, poor communication and other blunders will show your team the importance of taking responsibility for mistakes and learning from them. If you act like you never do anything wrong, then your team members will feel uncomfortable apologizing for faults. They will lack the trust needed to take accountability for mistakes and, instead, they will play the blame game to avoid feeling guilty and facing any consequences.

Trust Destroyer #3- A Leader Who Won’t Ask for Help

I hate to ask for help. It feels like a weakness. I led several teams over my 25 years at Federated (Macy’s) Department Stores, and this was really hard for me. It cost me a lot too. It hurt my ability to be open to new ways to do things. And it set high standards for myself and others, that were impossible to keep. It created a desire for me to just work longer and harder and to expect that from my team. And the thing is, others knew when I needed help, so when they would ask me about it, my rejection of their offer hurt my relationship with them. Today, I still struggle with asking for help, but I have realized the ability to be vulnerable about needing help or support from others is a great way to build a relationship that is very powerful and more authentic. Over the past ten years of working along side my partners in our leadership development firm, I have experienced the joy it gives to others and myself when I admit I need their help. It makes them free to also ask me to help them when their burden is too great.

Learn to Ask for Helpcc_coaching_skills_for_leaders_002

After embracing vulnerability by being more open as a team leader and apologizing for mistakes and admitting when you are wrong, take the next step and ask for help. Some leaders have a superman complex where they feel responsible for every task. Or they lack the time, knowledge and resources needed but are afraid to ask for help for fear of looking weak to their team or their boss. Great team leaders are not afraid to ask for help. They have a clear sense of their strengths and weaknesses, therefore providing them the confidence to know when they should look to others for help. Also, great team leaders know that soliciting input from their team members and articulating how much they value their team members’ contributions serves as a positive way to build team trust.

Do you lead by example? If you truly want to build trust on your team, then model trustworthy behavior by being vulnerable. Create a safe and supportive environment on the team by showing empathy towards your team members, give them the benefit of the doubt, and follow through on what you commit to achieve. Encourage your team members to speak up and share their ideas, recognize their hard work, and embolden them to solve problems on their own. By modeling how you trust your team, in return, they will develop more trust towards you and the entire team.

Today’s organizations need leaders who want to run teams built to be highly effective. It takes work and commitment to engender trust on your team and inside your organization. So are you ready to take the first steps to becoming a trustworthy leader? Download our free team leadership self-assessment to gain clarity about your trust behaviors.

team leaders develop trust on your team in the workplace

Tags: building trust, corporate culture, improve workplace relationships, high performing teams