Regardless of whether you're leading a team or you're a part of one, what you say and what you do influences those around you. The culture you create by your words and actions is a living thing. You can cultivate it to drive amazing results, or you can let it languish and see your quality and culture suffer as a result.
At the same time, not only how you speak, but when you speak and who you speak to contributes to the culture you're driving. Are you giving useful feedback in a way that the person you're giving it to hears it and then wants to do something about it? What kind of feedback are you providing to your team? And how are you encouraging them to achieve the results you know they're capable of?
The most effective feedback is the kind that you take the time to craft so that it's the right message delivered at the right time and for the right reason to the right person. In taking this time, you are showing a deep level of caring for your team, and that type of caring does not go unnoticed.
Feedback, of course, can come in many forms, and the same approach doesn't work for everyone. Below are the concepts of several phrases that you should say to your team often, taking the time to convey them in the way that they will have the most effect. It may take a little more effort, but in the end they will drive powerful results.
What you and your team members are doing is more than the word document they're typing in, the spreadsheet they're updating, or the angry call they're managing. What they do impacts the world, and reminding them of that is powerful.
A brickmaker could see his job as mixing sand and rock to make bricks, or he could understand that the bricks he's making today will build buildings that will house happy families and vibrant workplaces for generations to come.
Ennoble them, remind them of how powerful their work truly is and how great an impact they're making on tomorrow, even if it just seems like a simple thing today. Here are four mantras you can start working
1. Trust the Universe.
If we don't trust the universe and choose not to step into risk, then we'll never imagine without limit. It's only in trusting the universe that transformative actions can take place. Don't let your team members limit their vision because they're afraid of risk.
Encourage grand ideas, test theories, and let the wheels spin. Real change is only possible when we leap and believe that the net will find us.
2. What you resist persists. What you embrace, disappears.
Ignoring something does not make it go away and eventually, the truth will come out. You can try to put a spin on something, trying to make it seem better than it is, but if you don't bring problems into the open, naming and embracing them all, then you'll never resolve them.
Team members should be encouraged at all times to be truthful about their challenges and use the leverage of their team to find solutions. Tucking problems out of the way only allows them to fester and grow.
3. Focus on doing a few things well instead of trying to do a little bit of everything.
Rather than do a few things about everything, the most powerful leaders and teams choose to focus on the fewest most important things that need to be accomplished, and then do them well. Whether it's an organization or an individual team member, encouraging focus on one to three of the most important things that need to be done that day instead of spreading oneself thin over dozens of tasks is the key to driving real results.
4. Is it necessary?
Constantly encourage your team members to examine the way they do things and ask, "Is it necessary?" Chances are there are more than one step, action, approval, etc. that could be eliminated with no harm to the final product.
These non-value-added activities (what the Japanese call "muda") can sneak into systems without us even realizing it and, just like clutter closet at home, they need to be cleaned out regularly.
Ask your team members if the things they're spending time doing are truly addressing the needs of the customer and the business. If they aren't, those activities need to go.
In intentionally designing how we speak to those around us, we intentionally drive a better culture and ultimately, better results. Feedback, when done correctly and delivered with precision, is one of the greatest forms of caring and that will always be met with positivity.