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The Three Indicators that Your Team is Still in Pain

by  Sonia Di Maulo  |  Leadership Development

As a leader, you have three choices when a problem situation comes up between two or more members of your team:

  1. Fix the problem
  2. Coach them to fix the problem
  3. Ignore the problem

Options 1 and 2 both require your time, energy, and focus. And sometimes you just don’t have the time for it.  This is when the problem situation gets ignored and your team members are on their own.

And the pain will grow.

Here are the three indicators that your team is in pain:

3. No news is good news

When you don’t hear back from anyone, you decide that as adults they fixed the problem. You are proud of them and congratulate them on working it. When you try to stop the water from spewing from a broken pipe, the water will find a different place to spew. Expect additional and often times more severe problems to surface.

Quick Tip: Be proactive instead of reactive

Encourage a quick touch base with the individuals on your team as often as is possible. Investing small amounts of time more often (in good and not-so-good times) will keep your communication flow open and receptive.  If they have trust in your ability to support, they will come when the problem is small and easily tackled!

2. Absenteeism

When an individual disconnects from their work, they may get ill or feel unmotivated to work in the current environment.  Unmotivated individuals affect the team’s success and the ability of the organization to meet the needs of their stakeholders, customers, and employees. Absenteeism can take on many forms: not being at work physically, mentally, or emotionally.

Quick Tip: Reconnect to the human

Use this opportunity to reconnect to the person as a human being. Take the time required to learn about their situation at work and harvest solutions to turn the environment around.  If this person feels this way, perhaps others do, too. Using your leadership to help make work life a better place will not go unnoticed.

1. No permission to communicate

We have conversations with ourselves all the time, using our personal lens to analyze the world and the actions/words of our co-workers. When things are said or done that don’t match how we would like, we often battle with how to address it. And this is when the request for a meeting with management happens. It ends up on your lap. How do you coach each individual problem situation every time?

Quick Tip: Create guiding principles as a team

Instead of fixing every interaction one at a time, help your employees help themselves.  Invest in a team meeting to have them discover their principles for communication when things go right (how will we celebrate and help each other shine) and when things go wrong (how can we be honest with each other to make things better).  Engage them in open dialogue using their own personal principles as a starting point.

It’s time to assess the pain level of your team and help discover ways to help each member flourish, thrive and grow individually and together. Which of these will you start implementing? Which have you tried and how did they help? What should you stop doing?

To create your own set of Team Guiding Principles, sign-up to receive a complimentary copy of my “tried and true” team activity for generating Team Guiding Principles.

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About The Author

Articles By sonia-di-maulo
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What People Are Saying

Jonena Relth  |  02 Apr 2014  |  Reply

Sonia, Excellent advice: succinct and to the point. As an introvert whose preferred mode is silence, I have been guilty of #3: No news is good news. Assuming that things are running smoothly just because you don’t hear otherwise is both unwise, it’s foolish. Additionally, many of us work with virtual workers so we don’t have the opportunity to see the body language of our team members. Implementing team communication rules up front is vital to a healthy, productive team. Also, when were you really in a positive state of mind when you answered “Ok”? Don’t take “I’m OK” as an answer from a team member, either. Politely inquire a bit more to find out the truth. It will pay off in spades!

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