Are you responsible for other people's performance? Do you want people to take more ownership at work?
Do you wish you could have effective conversations with your team?
Whenever I ask what people want from a team training session I can guarantee several people will ask for the same thing. It is the most commonly requested improvement people want to take away from team training.
I always start training sessions asking people what they personally want to get from the training. This has multiple benefits - it helps me know if they feel like they have just been sent to training, typified in responses like, "I don't know. I was just told to be here and here I am", and to gauge how much expectation they have come with. Sometimes people just want to come for the good food served, other times they hope to leave with something they can apply to their work and life.
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I encourage people to have high expectations as the more you expect the more you will look for that and the more likely you are to find something.
The top most requested outcome from team training sessions? Communication. Every team seems to intuitively understand that the root cause of a lot of their problems stems from either a lack of communication or the poor execution of it.
This is particularly evident when training front-line/first-time managers and leaders. The move from being one of the team to being responsible for the team is a big step. People are plagued with insecurities, uncertainties and can often feel caught in the middle of conflicting expectations from their team and management.
Clarity = action. One of the best ways of equipping new team leaders is to ensure they and their team are clear on roles, deliverables, responsibilities and expectations. Done well this sets team leaders up for success. An effective way to keep this momentum is to initiate weekly/fortnightly one-on-one meetings between a line leader and their direct reports. These only need to take between 15-20 minutes and before you feel you don't have the time calculate how much time you waste from poor communication - well-run one-on-ones give some of the best return on investment in a company.
Keep these safe, open and follow a clear structure. I like the weekly four-question approach:
• How are you doing? (Connect with the person. Give them a chance and the space to share how life is going for them and those closest to them.)
• Do you feel you are winning? (This gives them the opportunity to share their key metrics and how they feel they are performing. They have the opportunity to ask for coaching, guidance and direction.)
• Do you have any roadblocks? (Your job as a manager and leader is to remove roadblocks. Identify what needs your urgent attention.)
• What will you focus on this coming week? (Ensure their energy is aligned with team goals.)
Weekly, 15 minutes, four questions that can energise a team and give the coveted clarity and communication. Is this something you could do?
• Mike Clark is director and lead trainer and facilitator at Think Right business training company.