Turning the Team

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[vimeo id="150711828"] Southeastern’s college of business recently had a panel of top-tier business leaders meet with our students. Throughout their discussion, each leader repeatedly emphasized the importance of working with teams. One leader even said that the most important thing college can teach a student is how to get things done on a team.

But let’s face it, sometimes you get stuck on a bad team. So how does an effective leader turnaround their team? Well here are a few suggestions.

First of all, a leader must empathize with the other members on their team. In other words, you have to get in their shoes before you can turn them around. Gather your team members around and ask them questions. How do they perceive the team? What strengths do they see in the other members? What strengths do they see in themselves? How do they picture the team’s success? And what is most important to them on this team? Once you understand their perspective, you can begin to cultivate directional change.

Secondly, analyze where the greatest problem is. It may be a misunderstanding of expectations. Or maybe it’s just a miscommunication about responsibilities. Sometimes it boils down to one person on the team. In these cases, it’s important to distinguish between the person and the position. Sometimes, you just have a trouble-maker on your time. But most of the time, you have a team member who is just functioning outside of their best skillset. This is a simple position problem. You just need to reorganize and re-task each member.

The third thing is to strategize as a team. A strategy is your path from problem to perfection. What steps do you need to take to fix the problem? Does the team need to communicate their expectations more? Maybe you have someone administratively-gifted doing creative work. So your team needs to decide how to redistribute responsibilities. Is there someone more suited to tackle that role? If not, you need to give them more time to do their share of the workload. Whatever problem is facing your team, remember that if you strategize as a team, you’ll succeed as a team.

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