Every organization wants growth in one way or another. We want growth in clientele and in profits, and it's common to want to see a certain level of growth in the skill and abilities of our employees.
Because we are driven by growth, we spend a lot of time and effort setting goals and doing what it takes to meet them. This is necessary for success. In fact, it's vital. But we have to remember that growth is not our only priority.
We need to be just as concerned with the health of the organization, because growth is not sustainable if the organization isn't healthy.
As a leader, it's your responsibility to monitor whether or not your department is healthy. And just as you implement strategies for growth, you can work to create a culture that fosters a healthy team.
Here are some indicators to look for when assessing the health of your team:
1. Laughter. Do your team members feel free to joke around and enjoy their work? As the leader, can you laugh at yourself? You don't need to become a stand-up comedian, but a healthy department should have a sense of lightness to it.
2. Camaraderie. Team members need to be interdependent to function optimally. Naturally, there will be competition among the members of your team and there is nothing wrong with this. However, if team members try to pull others down to make themselves look good, it's time to confront that behavior. As well, examine what you're modelling as the leader. Do you cheer your team on? Celebrate small wins and look for reasons to be impressed with your team.
3. Respect. A healthy department is founded on respect—not only mutual respect between team members, but respect for company time and resources. Keep a lookout to ensure that your team members have a healthy respect for the property and finances under their care.
4. Simplicity. Some leaders love to over-complicate problems in an attempt to look important. Really, they only succeed in deflating their team. The most effective way to attack a problem is by keeping it simple. Over-complication leads to team busyness but not necessarily productivity. To keep your department productive, develop the ability to make the complex simple. An empowered team is a healthy team.
5. Creativity and Initiative. Healthy teams sense that they have the freedom to solve problems creatively and they are not afraid of being reprimanded or ridiculed if they take calculated risks. As a leader, you can encourage your department to try new things, even if those new ideas go nowhere. Your team needs to be free to engage in creative trial and error as they learn to better understand the objectives and preferences of their leaders.
6. Vibe. Healthy teams have a great atmosphere and sense of expectancy. Whenever possible, communicate excitement about the team you are leading and over what they are capable of achieving. Part of your objective as a leader is to influence your team to believe in their ability to rise to every occasion.
As leaders, we have the opportunity to craft the culture of our organizations. Which of these six indicators of healthiness needs the most work on your team? Pick one and commit to working on it this week.
Leon Fontaine, author of The Spirit Contemporary Life: Unleashing the Miraculous in Your Everyday World (WaterBrook), is the CEO of Miracle Channel and senior pastor of Springs Church in Canada. He is internationally renowned for his ability to equip leaders with skills for success.
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