Leadership Consistency Despite Inconsistencies
Leaders, how many times have you asked yourself, “Why doesn’t my team do what I need them to do?”
Over the last 14 months, COVID-19 has created unprecedented challenges in driving the necessary outcomes and behaviors. It’s hard to be consistent when everything is inconsistent! Most clients we work with are hyper-focused on evolving their organizations around new operating models, unique messaging, and determining how to retain and grow revenue. As a result, many leaders find themselves with yet another extraordinary gap; - engaging their teams in a meaningful and performance-based manner.
Effective performance measurement, behavior management, and personal accountability can undoubtedly be a more significant challenge in this remote/hybrid environment than when our teams were present. In a world where many companies are almost entirely virtual or having to use video technology as the primary communication method, how do effective leaders create a culture that consistently and sustainably drives organizational and individual objectives?
Communication, Communication, Communication – Using your video technology of choice, increase the frequency of your team touchpoints to ensure the focus remains on performance outcomes and that you are empowering them to create sustainable success through your feedback mechanisms. One of the most important components, and often neglected, is establishing formal 1:1 meetings with each team member. This has become even more critical in the virtual environment to keep your teams engaged, connected to the vision, and ensure progressive improvement. Below are a few hints to successful 1:1s:
Establish weekly or bi-weekly cadence – make these mandatory for both yourself and your team members, so they truly understand not only the importance of the 1:1 but your commitment to their success.
Specific agenda - this will create a healthy foundation for ongoing dialogue, consistent feedback mechanisms, and focus on what is most important; it will also provide a forum for your team member to share challenges around the most important actions.
Begin with questions such as - How are you feeling? How are you doing with work/life balance? How can I make things easier for you? With so many variables affecting the mindset and mental health of so many, it is important to demonstrate our commitment to ensuring a healthy environment overall…it also helps support the first of the Four Cornerstones, a great attitude!
Action items & expectations – Follow up every 1:1 session with an email highlighting specific takeaways, expected actions before the next meeting, and any support that you as a leader will provide.
Intentional Feedback Sessions – Do not allow the lack of in-person interactions to provide feedback hinder ongoing learning opportunities during this time. When everyone is at the office, there are more frequent opportunities to offer skill-building advice and/or constructive feedback. Mimicking that environment via video isn’t as easy — which is why leaders MUST be purposeful about creating those opportunities. One best practice way to accomplish this is to establish a weekly virtual team meeting where you have the opportunity to accomplish several very important items:
Virtual teams must have the opportunity to work together as a group to share best practices, share details about how things are going outside of work, and bond socially.
You, as the leader, can leverage these sessions to recognize team members in front of their peers for outstanding performance and/or core value moments. This will drive a team culture that we refer to as "Vicarious Reinforcement". Recognizing team members in front of their peer group will inspire others to work harder to gain that same recognition.
Skill Building Role Practice – Use these sessions as deliberate opportunities to build skills, elevate team performance and participate in one of the most important activities we can do, role practice. Establish specific situational scrimmages and have the team role practice how they would handle those scenarios. There are many great ways to leverage this role practice opportunity – Make prospecting calls in front of each other (each team member can bring their top 5 prospects); create common objections that arise and have the team script their response and practice with each other; debrief on upcoming sales calls to ensure planning, preparing and practicing how to advance position. These are all great opportunities to critique, improve and elevate everyone's outcomes.
If you are currently struggling to drive consistent performance and sustainable growth due to the challenges associated with virtual leadership, we can help. Named Top 10 Leadership Development Company in 2019 & 2020, Butler Street’s leadership programs provide easily implementable processes and tools, virtual coaching and interactive eLearning to fit your schedule and budget. Contact us to learn more.