Self-feedback. I ask this of my team all the time. My favorite question to ask on team calls – to discuss analyses, client presentations, work product, or most of anything – is an open ended question. “What do you think? “”How do you like it? ”
My thesis: If you don’t like your work, I likely won’t, and the client definitely won’t.
It’s not a trick question. As a manager, the more I can trust the team the better. I love democracy mode of work – everyone is a corporate citizen with a clear understanding of the end destination, and eager to do great work. Fundamentally, I want people who take pride in their work, have a sense of what “good looks like”, and are self-aware.
Open up the conversation. In the same way that we run the client interviews by asking open ended questions upfront. This is a way to open the doors and windows and let in some fresh air and allow breathing room for creativity, self-expression, and the most important things. Yes, millenniums want to be heard. Yes, everyone wants to be heard
Get the best ideas out first. What your team wants to say is important, and the first thing they say is probably most useful. You may find it to be the same point you were going to discuss anyways, but a lot of times it’s something that you overlook. Don’t be afraid to change up the agenda. Don’t be afraid to disagree. Idea fight club.
Get the pulse of your team. Understand their emotions and state of mind. Most of the work we do as consultants is very contextual. It’s not a question of black and white. It’s not a question of profit and loss. It’s a question of cross functional nuances, office politics, pride, fear, greed, all the human emotions. Same goes for our teams.
What is their frame of mind?
- Tracking with the mission or confused?
- Excited with the work or bored?
- Engaged or distant?
- Intellectually curious or looking to just “get through it”?
Without getting too psycho-babble about it, these cues come from word choice, energy level, volume, and tone of voice. Get to know your team.
Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.
(Dwight D. Eisenhower)
Don’t carry the burden of meetings by yourself. By soliciting interaction and ownership from your team, you are rowing the boat together. It’s very easy for people to throw stones when they are not responsible in anyway. It’s less easy to throw stones, when you were given a voice to say something and chose not to take it. BOOM.