As a busy Realtor, sometimes it’s hard getting your team to contribute more to your cause while simultaneously establishing stronger talent retention. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
“You don’t necessarily need to add expensive new ingredients to the stew, you just have to know how to use your ingredients better,” says Corporate Coach Maxine Attong in a recent press release. “… A corporate or organizational leader knows how to let an ingredient speak for itself, perhaps with just a touch of seasoning, or guidance.”
What’s the guidance – competition or incentives such as bonuses? Not exactly.
“Most employees want to have more input,” says Attong, a certified facilitator and author of “Lead Your Team to Win: Achieve Optimal Performance By Providing A Safe Space For Employees.”
If a leader can engender a sense of trust, the group/organization/business will benefit from the individual and the team’s ingenuity. A reliable way of establishing a trusting climate is to make team members feel safe, says Attong, who offers these steps:
• Share responsibility; practice “I” statements: With openness, encourage interaction by having team members and leaders enforce the rules and monitor the use of common space. When members break the rules, the team discusses the problems and decides on the sanctions and steps necessary to assist the member in following the rules next time. Speakers are discouraged from using the word “you.” Instead, they use “I.” This simple yet effective practice encourages personal culpability and discourages blame.
• Consistency: Teams need to consistently follow the agreed-on rules as they set the boundaries and the tone for relationships. Following the rules makes the behavior in the space predictable, which limits uncertainty and increases feelings of safety. Consistent application of the rules helps the team to increase trust as behavior becomes prescriptive and members know more or less what will happen in the room and how they will be treated.
• Judgment: Members must feel they are not being judged. If someone says an idea is bad, the speaker will shut down and in the future will hesitate to give ideas. Less confident team members may refrain from presenting ideas if they are uncertain of the quality of the ideas.
• Good intentions: Not all team members are effective communicators so it may be hard for some to frame and cogently express their thoughts.
• Norming: By this point, team members seem to embrace each other and there is togetherness. Do not be fooled by this. This doesn’t mean your team has normed—that each team member makes decisions that advance the goals of the team. It means the safe space concept has let them see each other in a neutral light and accept each other’s strengths and weaknesses. While the space may act as an accelerator or catalyst for the team to norm, it is not magic. It does not mean that whatever problems existed before has disappeared. The leader still needs to pay attention and check the team. Regular meetings and team building sessions should still be conducted.