This is the next in a series of posts in which I attempt to address a question or issue that’s been submitted by a leader from around the world. Today, I want to address something that virtually every team leader has faced. Today’s Challenge: How do we help our team maintain focus?
This is not an easy challenge. We need to look no further than the playoffs in any sport. Often the underdog wins – why? One of the primary culprits is a team that loses focus. On a less public scale, many of the teams that you and I lead can also lose focus. The consequences may not be the loss of a national championship, but they can still be significant. Focus doesn't just happen. Leaders create the conditions that enable the team to focus.
How do we help our teams maintain focus? Here are 5 ideas that may help.
1. Keep the Vision Alive - When is the last time you talked with your team about the vision? Has it been more than 24 hours? As my friend Bill Hybels reminds me, Vision Leaks! There is a strong gravitational pull to the mundane, the pedestrian, the hard work of everyday life. The vision can inspire and re-focus. It is the leader's most potent weapon against drift.
2. Keep Score - As I’ve discussed in previous posts, people love to keep score. This is one of the most powerful engagement tools known to leaders around the world. It can also be a tremendous ally when attempting to maintain focus. If you stop keeping score, I think laser focus is unlikely.
3. Delegate Real Responsibilities - This is very different than delegating tasks. Both are helpful but tasks can often be executed with limited focus. When you delegate real responsibilities, this will require people to show up and be fully present. This type of delegation requires people to think, and thinking, on challenging assignments, requires focus. As an example, don’t ask someone to make 20 sales calls, rather assign the responsibility to generate a 10% sales increase. That will require a heightened level of focus.
4. Expect the Best - Think about the great accomplishments of your life. I’m guessing someone believed in you – and they told you they did. Set expectations high for each and every member of your team. Expect greatness and you’ll see more of it.
5. Celebrate Wins - Work is hard. If you haven’t heard that before, I hate to be the one to have to tell you. Sometimes, there really is no finish line. The next month or next quarter has its own performance demands looming on the horizon. People, and teams, get tired and worn down. Celebration is an antidote for this – it’s not a cure but it can certainly help re-energize and re-focus a team. Please don’t miss the opportunity to celebrate with your team.
Building a team is challenging – that’s actually an understatement – it’s hard. If we can help our teams stay focused, the difficult becomes eminently more doable. Good luck and enjoy the journey![GLS_Shield]
Please send me your leadership challenges. Here’s how:
Send a single sentence stating your current leadership challenge. If you’d like, you can also send a paragraph outlining pertinent details or context. I will not reveal your name or email address.
You can send your challenges to: Mark@GreatLeadersServe.org
Or, if you can fit your challenge in 140 characters, you can use Twitter: @LeadersServe.