- Address Accountability: Have a “Code of Conduct” that differentiates between what is acceptable and what is not. Give the team the power to engage with this as an ongoing dialog which results in self-enforcement. For example, blaming outside forces for poor performance could be considered “Ducking Accountability.” This would give a term or name to the behavior and allow the team to begin self-regulating. Then, when someone blames their being late for a meeting on traffic another team member might say, “That sounds like ducking accountability.” This pays off in a big way when it comes to real issues within the team as they feel empowered to hold each other accountable.
- Tie Small Wins to the Big Picture: Often the ultimate goal seems too large or unfocused for teams to sink their teeth into. A strong leader takes the time to tie the everyday actions of their team to that larger goal. This increases morale and motivation, but it also reassures the team that they are heading in the right direction and that there is a plan or roadmap in place that is successfully guiding them.
- Empower Teams to Solve Their Own Problems: If you act as the authority and give specific task instructions to team members, then you are holding them back. Avoid addressing “HOW” the work is going to be done and stick to questions regarding “WHAT” the outcome should be from the customer’s perspective. This elevates your team to tactical leadership and decentralizes control allowing autonomy and agility.
- Support Individual Goals: Your team members will be happier, healthier, and far more productive if they feel like their personal goals are included in the roadmap. Use some 1:1 time to learn what each team member wishes to accomplish both within the team and any personal or professional growth items they would like to focus on. Then bake those goals into the backlog of work, the roadmap, and the team member’s review/reward conversation. This gives them permission to grow in the directions they choose within your team rather than having to look outside of it for their next opportunity.