The best teams continually find ways to grow and improve. They know success and health aren’t destinations and if they ever stop ‘the pursuit’ they risk losing them. These teams know they are defined by what they do today and tomorrow. Not by what they did last week or last year.
If you have a team like this, consider these three practices to continue a healthy trajectory:
Define People by Their Strengths
We choose how we see the world. This is one of the most powerful truths about life. When I was a teenager, I must have been pretty negative because my dad paid me $10 to read the legendary book “See You At the Top” by Zig Ziglar. This would be the first of many books I’d read on the power of attitude (which is now called ‘positive thinking’) but they all say the about same thing: Our world is created by the way we choose to see it. When we choose to see the positive, our world becomes more positive.
It’s the same with people. How we choose to interpret and define people will shape our reality about them. If we view people by their negative traits, our interactions with them will be primarily negative. But if you choose to view people in light of their strengths, their positive traits will become the primary lens through which you see them.
If you want your team to continue to succeed, teach people to define each other by their strengths.
Grow in Self-awareness
Self-awareness is having an accurate understanding of self, the ‘space you take up’, and your impact on others. Some people are more interested in being self-aware than others…but those uninterested in growing in self-awareness will find themselves isolated in the long run.
One of your primary functions as a leader, manager, or business owner is to initiate and lead a movement of self-awareness among your team/employees. Not everyone will respond to your efforts in the ways you believe they will (or in the ways they tell you they will). But despite the pushback you get from a few, the reward of helping others grow is sustainable long-term success.
There are lots of ways to help people grow. I’ve found the Clifton StrengthsFinder to be a great tool to give culture a shared vocabulary, yet it is individualized enough to help people feel still feel unique (there are many among who don’t do well with labels). It helps a person identify themselves in a positive light and gives a language to talk about how they impact your team.
Help Your Team Value Their Differences
It’s challenging to managing a team with contrasting worldviews. However, if your team learns to see their differences as an opportunity to be better together, then it becomes a great strength. Good leaders bring differences into the light and honor them through beneficial and positive labels.
I was once on a team in which a number of people had opposing strengths. Oil and water. Yin-yang. White and black. And I may have struggled the most with accepting the differences of others! Once we changed our perception and the vocabulary we used to define each other, we were able to get over a number of obstacles and galvanize as a team. Even though I haven’t been on this team for almost a decade, I still call members of the team to ask them for feedback. I can trust that they will ask different questions and see different solutions.
It’s tempting to see those who are different as speed bumps on our fast-track to success. But they may be there to slow us down just enough to stay on the road.