Your team wants two things more than anything else. They are the same two things we all want more than just about anything else. To feel valued and to be surrounded by the right people.
If you’re new this week, this is the last installment in a four-part series on the 8 Things Your Team REALLY Wants. We’ve been talking about Simon, the founder and leader of a $200 Million startup that was losing mid-level VPs and managers at an alarming rate. I’ve used his struggles as an example to show you those eight things.
If you missed any of the other three parts, you can find them here:
The last two things your team wants are to feel valued and to be surrounded by the right people.
7. To feel valued
Feeling valued is an inane human need. We all have it.
And there is no better way to make your team feel valued than to give them inside access. That means sharing information with them you normally wouldn’t. It means displaying open leadership. (That link will take you to a detailed post on the value of open leadership)
When you share information and then seek their input, each member feels he or she is an important part of the team. You want to include them on important decisions.
Simon’s team was a closed shop in this regard. He even admitted that he and his executive team were leery of sharing sensitive information with their VPs and managers. As a result, they were left in total darkness. Executive decisions were passed down with no explanation and no supporting information. The VPs and managers felt they were nothing more than order takers. In other words, they did not feel valued.
Since little information was shared with them, they were rarely involved in decision-making processes. And if they were, they had no information to work with. They were operating with a blindfold over their eyes.
The reality is that his team was smarter and more capable than he was giving them credit for. And so is yours.
The obvious results of not including your team members in important decisions is they feel devalued, their confidence takes a big hit, and they become increasingly disenfranchised. Over time, they will ride a cycle that looks a lot like this:
Trust me, treating your team like this never ends pretty.
Key takeaway: Read my post on open leadership and do whatever you can to be more open with your team. They are your most precious asset. Don’t lose them out of irrational fear or your controlling tendencies.
8. To be surrounded by the right people
Informal poll: Who would you rather work with?
- People you get along with
- People you don’t get along with
- High performers
- Low performers
Or last one…
- Positive people
I’m pretty sure I don’t need Gallup to conduct those polls for me.
One of the best things you can do as a leader is to make sure you take your time bringing on new team members. And make sure to include your current team in the process (see point #7 above).
It is your job to make sure that you have the right people in the right seats on the bus (hat tip to Jim Collins).
If someone is underperforming, it drags everyone down.
If someone is constantly telling off-color jokes or showing up late, it demotivates the rest of the team.
If someone is constantly whining about lack of this or too much of that, the rest of the team begins to either believe that person or want to kill him or her. Neither of those is a pretty place.
Ultimately it comes down to this with each person:
Is he or she giving more than he or she is taking?
Givers get to stay. Takers get to find a new job.
Simon was churning and burning through so many VPs and managers that it was impossible for them to work together. They also failed miserably at allowing the current team to interview the people who would be their peers. And to make things even worse, they often hired a VP’s direct reports with little to no input from the VP. Yikes!
That had to change…and it started with removing the wrong people from the wrong seats…immediately…and then completely changing their hiring process to include the current team more.
Key takeaway: Your team must have significant input on who they will be working with. As a leader, it is your job to make that happen.
Simon’s company is on it’s way to improving in all eight areas. They’re combining fair pay, better resources, a clear vision, realistic expectations, trusting their team, giving up control, valuing their team more, and surrounding themselves with the right people. It’s an effective combination with predictably positive results.
I look forward to a follow-up post or two in the coming years!
Have you ever felt unvalued at your job or been surrounded by the wrong people? What impact did it have on you?