Your team is your power

By Arbresh Useini, 06. June 2019

I’ve written about diversity in teams before, and how it’s important to understand the necessity to differentiate capabilities within the team. Diversity in teams gives your organization a beneficial advantage unique to your organization. Yet, it’s only useful when you know what exactly the individual brings to the table.

One of the ten principles of organizational democracy (made by WorldBlu) is about exactly this:

“When individuals understand the unique contribution, they make towards achieving collective goals”.

The best result is to achieve individualism and collectivism at the same time, and this is by finding your team’s different potentials and capabilities. Improving performance through teams, makes the organization alive, perform better and results in more engaged employees. It’s very much about realization. It’s very much about acknowledgement. And it’s very much about diversity.

Do what you do best

Sometimes we experience something that changes our mindset. I sure did some years ago, and it has become a piece of advice I often give people (and the best advice I give myself). A couple of years ago, I learned how to look at my life like Coca Cola – do what you do best! It came from a lecture where my professor said, “Why is Coca-Cola better than Pepsi”; after various answers from all the students, he said, “Because they keep doing what they’re best at, and Pepsi tries to do what Coca Cola does best”. I’m not discussing weather Coca Cola or Pepsi is the best, but the point is important: Do what you do best!

The point is the same in a team. Every individual gives a contribution to achieve a collective goal, but it doesn’t necessarily lead to engaged employees or the best contribution from team members to be a part of striving towards a shared purpose. In fact, it is probably enough that you meet at work every morning and are automatically part of a team working towards the same goal. But it doesn’t necessarily result in employee commitment. Rather ask, “what’s the unique contribution every team member gives?”.

A blessing in disguise

A good leader knows what the organization’s purpose is, and if they’re hitting south, north, east or west, but she may not know the exact strategy because a linear strategy in a VUCA world isn’t impossible to make but impossible to follow. If you are always confident when you are on an uncertain basis, as you are in a VUCA World, then you can end up losing your authenticity as a leader. You can easily plan, but you must also show uncertainty and openness to being wrong and uncertain. You just lose the trust between your team and you and the belief in a shared purpose.

It may seem like a time waster to have so much focus on frequent conversations with employees, but it can be a blessing in disguise. You’ll discover mind patterns, capabilities and what drives the employees. It’s all the units that are unique contributions to the team.

At Bloch&Østergaard, we suggest mentoring and choosing your own boss. It provides easier access to choosing a boss which your employee feels secure around and gives them an opportunity to develop. Milestones are the way forward, to ensure that each one does what they are best at, without planning too far in the future, and this a way to discover what your employees’ Coca Colas are.

Studies show that the number 1 reason for employees feeling engaged in their work is the feeling of being a part of a team. I hope you clicked on the link. It’s a video of the most engaged employee on earth: Barbara. Now, Barbra is just a name to represent the idea of an engaged employee. But what is interesting is that the study highlighted being part of a team as the most important element of being an engaged employee. For the employee to truly feel as a part of a team, it means recognition from you as a leader and from the other team members. But what if the team members don’t know, what the specific contribution from themselves is? Therefore, it’s about realization, acknowledgement and diversity.

1. Realize what the strength is

Being a great leader means to recognize that each employee needs something different from you and realizing what the employee’s unique contribution to the team is. It’s about transforming everybody’s talents into performance, and it’s not necessarily what they’re good at, but what comes natural to them. In the long run, it saves times. Making people do tasks that suit them, matches their strength and what drives them, will increase their performance.

2. Acknowledge, and it will go straight to the bottom line

Yup, it will! People take far more ownership over their tasks when there’s a focus on their strengths. When articulating the strengths, it will build up stronger teams and increase accountability. People start to appreciate each other’s strength and contribution to the team. Eventual, it leads to customized positions and the organization will experience an increase in creativity, ownership and innovation.

3. Diversity is a team capability

Lastly, it’s about the diversity. The understanding of the individual standing in front of you is the best way to ensure and secure diversity when dealing with diversity. Understand how the person’s mind pattern is. How does she learn? Is it by making a visual illustration, by order and delegation or is it by doing step by step and learning along the way?

The contribution is the Coca Cola

So, next time you look at your team, find the uniqueness everyone contributes with. I’ll bet when you’ve helped your employees finding their Coca Cola, every individual understands the unique contribution they make towards achieving collective goals.

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