From First Day To Leading The Way
Imagine this. You’re comfortably settled in your office or remote workspace, surrounded by the vibrant energy of your dedicated colleagues. A sense of purpose (hopefully) fuels your spirit as you scan your to-do list, eager to tackle your short- and long-term challenges.
Now, rewind time. Remember your first day in this role? The excitement was palpable, mingled with a touch of apprehension. You envisioned the boundless possibilities ahead, the chance to make a real difference and leave your mark. Yet, alongside the thrill arose the anxieties of navigating a new environment, forging connections with unfamiliar faces, and proving your value.
These are universal experiences. In the late 1950s, renowned psychologist William Schutz identified three fundamental needs that individuals seek to fulfill within a group:
- Inclusion: The need to feel valued and have a voice, fostering a sense of belonging and contribution. A sense of belonging is one of the four core human needs, alongside love, certainty, and connection. Feeling included in a team fosters belonging and allows individuals to thrive.
- Control: The desire to exert influence and shape outcomes, leading to a sense of ownership and impact. Autonomy is essential for intrinsic motivation. People are naturally motivated to learn, grow, and contribute their best when they have control over their work.
- Affection/Openness: The longing for emotional connection and trust, creating a foundation for collaboration and collective success. Affection and openness are crucial for building trust, fostering collaboration, and promoting individual and collective growth.
As you first joined your team, your initial trepidation likely stemmed from these core needs. But what if I told you that as a leader, you hold the power to shape the group’s trajectory and address these needs, fostering an environment of growth and fulfillment?
A Team Transformed
Take the case of Sarah, a bright and passionate E.V.P. who felt her team lacked the cohesiveness and engagement she desired. Recognizing the importance of addressing team and individual needs, with my help, she leveraged the Appetite, Capacity, and Skills (A.S.C.) framework to align with their newly created strategic plan:
- Appetite: We modified the reward, reviews, and celebration system throughout the culture, redirecting and reigniting the team’s passion and motivation.
- Skills: Sarah invested in training and development programs, equipping her team with the knowledge and expertise to perform at their peak.
- Capacity: Sarah assessed her team’s budgets and workload, ensuring everyone had the resources and support necessary to excel.
The results were remarkable. Sarah and her leadership team witnessed a dramatic shift in group dynamics and has progressed in lockstep with the strategy implementation. Communication improved, collaboration flourished, turnover reduced, and a greater sense of camaraderie emerged. The team’s productivity soared, exceeding expectations.
Leading with Inspiration
As leaders, it’s crucial to remember that our words and actions profoundly impact those around us. We can choose to create an environment that cultivates fear, distrust, and negativity or one that fosters trust, growth, and fulfillment.
Here are three key takeaways to inspire you on your leadership journey:
1. Embrace Vulnerability: Sharing your own struggles and aspirations while keeping boundaries creates a safe space for authentic connection and deeper understanding. When leaders at all levels model vulnerability doing so becomes a cultural norm.
2. Empower, Don’t Control: Micromanagement stifles creativity and innovation. Trust your team to make decisions and contribute their unique talents.
3. Celebrate Individuality: Great teams contain multitudes. Recognize your team’s diverse strengths and perspectives – individually and collectively. This fosters inclusivity, creates the conditions for greater belonging, and allows everyone the opportunity to shine.
Leadership is not about having all the answers all the time. It’s about creating an environment where everyone feels empowered to contribute their best, where individual needs are met, and where collective success becomes a natural consequence.
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If you want a more trusting team, a culture of belonging or a magnetic brand that attracts more of the right customers, I can help. If you'd like to explore if working together makes sense, drop me a line.
February 6, 2024
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