Your team has unlimited potential. It’s your job to help members of your group reach that potential.
If right now the people you lead are struggling, it’s time to fire them up. There are many ways to do this. Instead of waiting for the perfect strategy, I suggest moving forward by taking one or more of the following four actions. If you would like assistance, I’d be happy to help with any of them.
Find out what they are thinking
When your team isn’t feeling great about things, you will be the last person to find out. People talk to their coworkers long before they talk to the boss. You need to hear the straight scoop on how people feel about the group. One way to accomplish this is by using a neutral third party to collect this information. When I’ve assisted in this way; I’ve conducted interviews, ran focus groups, and administered surveys. In all cases the goal was the same: Find out what people really think.
Deal with the problems
An assessment process will help you understand which problems are getting in the way of your team’s success. Once you know this, it is time to take action. Some of the problems will have quick and easy solutions. Go ahead and fix those yourself. The team members will appreciate your willingness to make things better. Maybe they want more feedback. Perhaps there’s a troublemaker that you need to address. If you know the answer, act.
Other problems won’t have such an obvious fix. For these, you need to involve your team. Bring them together to discuss the results of the assessment. After prioritizing the most important problems, use a team problem-solving approach to address them.
Team leaders often aren’t comfortable or good at leading these discussions. Again, a neutral facilitator can help create a safe environment so people can say what needs saying. Over the years, these have been some of my favorite kinds of meetings to run.
Set goals collectively
Once problems have been addressed and the team’s foundation has been repaired, you are ready to give the team something to be fired up about. This almost always comes in the form of goals that are compelling and achievable. These goals should be developed collectively.
Group goal-setting meetings present several challenges. Some people dominate. Others sit back and don’t engage. Sometimes the group gets excited about a goal that doesn’t align with the organization’s broader mission.
Success in these types of meetings requires a brilliant plan and strong facilitation skills. I’ve done it many times and am always glad to help.
Build skills to support goals
While goals can help fire up a team, they will only do so if team members see that the organization is willing to support them in their quest for reaching those goals. Often the most obvious support required is the development of new skills. You need to think through what people can and can’t do and create a plan for each person to build the necessary skills.
Fire them up
When teams are in a funk, it’s rare that they pull themselves out of it. They require a catalyst, someone who takes the initiative to put them on the right path. That person is you. Now get to work.