“How often are significant changes made…?”

leadership-banner-1919x506In working with leaders and their teams, a question I frequently get is: “How often are significant changes made within the structure of the team?”   Now, while not always, what they really are asking is: “How often does someone leave the team?” when it comes to the Team Alignment process I facilitate.  The answer: frequently.

Candidly, let’s have a bit of a reality check here.  While the argument is that we likely should regularly engage coaching, the reality is that people likely are not picking up the phone to call a coach/consultant like myself unless there are issues causing pain within the organization.  And, they’ve normally done a lot internally attempting to deal with this pain prior to ever reaching out.

While I never walk into relationships with clients and their team members with an intention or preconceived notions that a team member will leave the team, it happen more often than not.  That all being said, the beauty of the process is, hopefully, if we’ve done our job well, the transition is viewed as positively as one can likely expect and, in some cases, truly viewed as a win-win.

Let’s face it, if there are performance issues within a team that one individual is primarily contributing, one of a couple things is happening:  1) They have huge blind spots which we as a team haven’t done a good job in helping them to see.  Or, 2) They see their deficiencies; however, don’t know what to do about them and are internally wrestling as well.  My role is to aid the team in developing a culture of openness and transparency that allows for this assessment and open dialog.  Even if I suspect on day one that an individual on the team needs to be transitioned, I’ll withhold my judgement and facilitate a process to where the entire team arrives at this conclusion together.

Now, here’s the thing, why are there issues in the first place?  Well, there are a lot of different ways of arriving at the conclusion, however, most often it deals with character flaws and/or people not being in an area aligning with their gifting.  For those with character flaws, the ending likely isn’t nearly has happy and they are simply going to carry those flaws into their next opportunity.  Eventually, these people will hopefully wake up and the best thing we can do is simply send them on their way.

More often are people not being in an area aligning with their gifting.  Time and time again, I see people placed in roles that they are simply not wired.  For example, you don’t take an individual who is great at sales and automatically promote him/her to a sales leadership role.  More often than not, these types of sales people aren’t wired to be good leaders of teams.  Now that might sound harsh, however, if you really have a transparent conversation with these sales people, they’ll tell you they love thrill of the “hunt” and don’t really enjoy leading people.  This is one of many examples.

Another flaw I’ve often referred to is in our hiring process.  Because we often related to people with similar personalities styles as ourselves, we often go out and hire people with the same personality style.  This is a huge mistake as most teams require a balance of personality styles.  For example, we might be a director having high risk tolerance and not needing a tremendous amount of details in decision making.  Assemble a team of these types of people and we’ve got nobody to handle the details and build systems to support our organization.  Make sense?

For those people who aren’t wired for the roles they are presently in, we hope to find another position on the team that capitalizes on their gifting; however, most organization don’t have that much flexibility.  So, what we do is help the team and individual to come to these conclusions on there own and aid in developing a graceful transition strategy.

Now, here is the fun part!  While it is frequent that we see people leaving the team during the process of Team Alignment, we also are pleased to hear the downstream effects.  With little hesitation I think we all can conclude the performance of the team is elevated; however, what about that individual who leaves?  Well, I’ve lost count of the number of times an individual has been given the opportunity to move on, they land in a position better suited for their gifting, and they actually make an effort to contact their former employer thanking them.  This is a time we recognize the true impact of those we’re given responsibly to lead.  True servant leaders and their teams seek out the best for people regardless of whether the end result is on their team or some other team.

Needs some help in assessing within your team?  Would you give me the joy of serving you?

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