'Heading a directionless team
Who doesn’t enjoy heading a highly motivated, proactive, solution-oriented team that doesn’t require much supervision? Unfortunately, very rarely does this happen in real life. In all probability, you’re stuck with a bunch of demoralized, jaded and disgruntled employees who desperately need something to fire up their motivation. The challenge of getting this team on its feet is quite daunting, but is not a ‘mission impossible.’
A few principles to guide you through this metamorphosis-
Establish who is boss
Not in an autocratic and high-handed manner, but in a firm yet polite manner. It’s obvious that you’ll need to be the catalyst for change and it’s equally obvious that everyone will not be too keen on welcoming this change. Nevertheless, if you don’t change the status quo of the team, it will continue to slide downhill with each passing assignment. Your credibility as a leader depends on whether you can be the turnaround champion for your team.
Face issues head-on
Don’t pussy foot around any tough issues. Your no-nonsense, bold decision making might be just what is needed to salvage the situation. Listen to the concerns and reservations of the others and try to address them immediately. Nevertheless, don’t expect a unanimous vote in favor of any change you propose- go ahead anyway. As each step you take produces results, your credibility will begin to be established. Till then, your vision, confidence and your willingness to take risks are your main assets.
Steer the team
Your first responsibility is to provide a clear direction to the team. Drifting along without a clear course of action will only delay the process of re-building the team. You have to function as the captain as well as the navigator, at least till everyone gets their bearings. Convey your vision and mission in no uncertain terms, clarify doubts and guide your team towards the collective goal. Unless each member is instilled with a sense of purpose, the entire team will continue to wander away without any tangible progress.
Heading out towards uncharted waters can be scary, but you’ll need to explore those frontiers if you want your team to go ahead. Be prepared to handle the fears and apprehensions of the team members. Getting out of the comfort zone is unsettling and you’ll probably not have many takers for this idea, but as the leader, the onus is upon you to motivate them to step out and conquer the hurdles- whether that of complacency, fear or whatever.
Remember your purpose
You can either be a ‘people-pleaser’ and win a lot of friends among the team and reach nowhere or be prepared to take steps that may not be popular but which are sure to yield results. There might be some who may not like your style of management, but you need to have the ability to stand firm against resistance (you can bet that there’s going to be plenty of it!) If your goal is to be the best-liked manger, then the mantle of leadership may not be for you.
Build interpersonal relationships
If your team is not pulling along in the right direction, the chances are that interpersonal conflicts are the reason behind it. You need to tackle this problem right away, without being judgmental about it. Get them involved in a fun project (say, organising a theme party to launch the re- oriented team or some social project.) the idea is to get people working on something other than work. When they realize that it is possible to work together as a team, it will make them a more cohesive unit than before. This advantage can then be applied to work situation