Thursday, April 26, 2012

Styles and Teamwork

It's very common for  a multitude of styles to exist within any team. Some people are more detail oriented, others love the big picture, some like to be "hands on" (doers) while others may be more cerebral (thinkers).

What are the different styles that exist within your team?
How do different styles create conflict?
How do the different styles allow your team to do exceptional work?

Some of the work I do with teams is to provide them with further detail about their styles and strengths. "Knowledge is power" and may provide new insights about team members' preferences, what they value and how they may prefer to work.

Perhaps you are looking to do some work in this area. Depending on your budget, amount of time, team size and focus, you may wish to explore these assessments:
 - DiSc
- Personal Styles Inventory
- Myers-Briggs
- StrengthsFinder (more of a focus on strengths than styles. Can be very useful for teams)

The key to introducing any of these to your team is to use it in expanding the awareness of the group. It's not just to say " I'm an ENFP"  or "I'm a Sensor, and hence I am an x....". Assessments can be useful in reinforcing, or enhancing our awareness around our preferences in how we work, and where our natural abilities/affinities may lay. Sharing this information within the team context can help facilitate a deeper understanding about the overall team strengths, gaps, blindspots, areas of opportunity and potential threat (i.e. all team members are strong in big-picture orientation but not in detail).

How might a conversation about styles and strengths benefit your team?

Have a great week!


Jennifer Britton
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley 2010)
Potentials Realized - Team Services | Retreats | Leadership Development
Phone: (416) 996-8326 (TEAM)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Feedback - An Essential Leadership Skill

Feedback is a critical skill for supervisors, managers, I would also say team members. As important as it is so many professionals continue to be very uncomfortable with both providing feedback, and sometimes even in receiving feedback.

If you are providing feedback to another, here are a couple of tips to keep in mind:

1. Be specific. Telling someone they did a "great job" without providing specifics is not very useful. Provide examples of when they did a "great job" - what did they do, when, where etc. Provide detail on what you noticed, not what you assumed.

2. Provide feedback that is meaningful. Feedback should be relevant and important to us, or our work. Have a conversation about what type of feedback your colleagues are looking for, what's important in their work, or with their priorities. What type of feedback is meaningful for each person you work with?

3. Provide feedback at an appropriate time. The timing of feedback is also important. Is the person open to receiving feedback? Is it an appropriate time, or location?   When feedback is delivered is also important. When would be the most appropriate time to provide feedback?

4. Provide feedback on an ongoing basis - Feedback is most useful when it relates to events that just happened. So many times feedback is only provided when it is performance review time. Feedback about something that happened six months is not as useful as having a discussion about something that happened today. 
How do you want to provide more regular feedback?

There are several different models out there for providing feedback including the "sandwich technique" and the SBI model.

Many of you may be familiar with the "sandwich technique" of starting and ending on the positive of what you have noticed, and providing the constructive feedback in the middle.

The SBI model was developed by the Center for Creative Leadership and is an acronym to focus on the Situation, Behavior and Impact. Read more about the SBI model here.

In closing, what changes do you want to make with respect to providing feedback?

Have a great week,

Jennifer Britton
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Potentials Realized
Performance | Leadership | Teamwork

Monday, April 16, 2012

Corporate Retreats - Four Things to Consider

Corporate Retreats can be a great opportunity for teams and entire organizations to get away and FOCUS on things that are important. Unfortunately, retreats are not always as productive or fruitful as they can be. In planning for an upcoming corporate retreat, here are four things to consider:

1. What is the purpose of this retreat? Is it for strategic planning? Team building? Unplugging and focusing on what's really important in our business? Skill building? Time taken to get clear on the purpose of the retreat process is invaluable in ensuring the FOCUS is right. Once you have selected a facilitator to work with your team/organization, ensure that the purpose is clearly articulated.
Consider: What is the purpose of our retreat?

2. What approaches will work best for us? Choosing a facilitator that can bring a style and approach that matches your needs is critical. Are you looking for a planner? A team builder? Someone who can work at the strategic level? Do you have someone internally who can support this work, or do you need to look externally?
Consider: What is it that we are looking for in terms of the retreat approach?

3. What do we want as outcomes and takeaways? Consider what tangible takeaways will be best. Is it the core of a strategic plan? Annual workplans? Resource lists? New skill development? Each team/organization will have different needs. Keep these outcomes and takeaways front and center as you move through a retreat process.
Consider: What do we want as outcomes and takeaways from the retreat process?

4. How will we sustain the process? For many years I ran retreats internally for organizations I worked with. A key challenge was always around how we sustained the process. Great ideas were often left at the retreat site. For the past eight years as I have worked as an external facilitator of retreats, I have encouraged my partner organizations to consider how do we sustain the process, and keep the conversation going? It may involved dedicated staff meetings for follow up, several conference calls to keep the conversation flowing, or even a couple of shorter off or on-site "tune-ups" throughout the year.
Consider: How will we sustain the process? What will work best with our organization?

Have a wonderful week!

Jennifer Britton
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Potentials Realized - Coaching, Training and Consulting Services
Corporate Retreats - Read about some of the retreats we have developed with partner organizations, and download a retreat planning checklist
Email: info{at}potentialsrealized{dot}com
Phone: (416)996-8326

Monday, April 02, 2012

Leveraging Your Team Strengths: Questions to Consider

When was the last time you discussed the strengths individual team members bring to work? In today's busy context of "doing more with less" discussion around "the softer stuff" often gets pushed aside.

Here's what Emotional Intelligence author Daniel Goleman says:

"In hard times, the soft staff often goes away. But emotional intelligence, it turns out, isn't so soft. If emotional obliviousness jeopardizes your ability to perform, fend off aggressors, or be compassionate in a crisis, no amount of attention to the bottom line will protect your career. Emotional intelligence isn't a luxury you can dispense with in touch times. It's a basic tool that, deployed with finesse, is the key to professional success"

Gallup's research around strengths find that leaders support and invest in their team members strength the odds of the person being engaged increases 8x. How is disengagement showing up in your organization?

This past weekend I led a retreat for an organization which focused primarily on strengths, team development and strategic and immediate action planning. What people really enjoyed above all was the opportunity to share and connect. When did you last ask your team what they see as their own strengths? How often do they get to use these in their work every day?

Here are a few questions for team members to consider:
1. What do you view as your strengths? What are you good at?
2. How do you use your strengths at work, in your role?
3. What could you do to more fully use your strengths each and every day?
4. Looking at upcoming priorities, which of your strengths, skills and talents, can support this work?
5. What else do you need to share with the team?
6. What do you need to stop doing? In light of current priorities?

What other questions would be useful for your team to consider?

Have a great week,

Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2012)
Potentials Realized
Leadership Development | Teamwork | Staff Retreats | Strategic Planning
Phone: (416)996-TEAM (8326)
Email: info{at}potentials realized{dot}com