How does your team work together and with you? Can they improve how they operate as a unit? My experience has been that teams can always get better at working together.
In today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, the health of your team is especially important. With the added pressure of a more intense and stressful workplace, teams who can work better together and handle the demands of their jobs more easily will almost always come out on top.
As a leader, there are many things you can do to improve the way your team interacts with one another and with you, and to make sure all are working at optimum levels and moving in a common direction.
How often are you asking individuals and the team about what’s getting in the way of their success? What about how they’re doing personally, or what more you can do to help? I have said many times that one of the important roles of a leader is to get up and get out and see what’s really going on inside the organization — not only with key leaders but with everyone.
If you want to really get at the issues that will improve your team’s health, I recommend you try an important assessment called “Keep, Start, Stop.”
Keep, Start, Stop — or KSS for short — is a really a simple and highly effective leadership tool. The process involves asking key questions about what behaviors and actions each team member should keep doing, start doing and stop doing to most effectively contribute to the team.
You’ll need to be willing and prepared to be vulnerable and listen to your team and to each other. That doesn’t mean you’ll have to follow everything you hear, but listening will give you the needed insights to improve your team’s health and overall performance. And any differences in opinion need to be aired. How you react to what is shared is up to you.
You can access the Keep, Start, Stop Assessment here. For maximum benefit, have all your direct reports do an assessment for each other, in addition to doing one for you.
Take 15 minutes or so and have each direct report list the top three to five actions, in priority, that they believe each person should keep doing, start doing, and stop doing. If there are 6 people, it could take an hour to an hour and a half to do this part of the assessment process.
I recommend the leader goes first by allowing each person to go through the top three to five things they believe the leader should keep doing and then letting each person provide input. Next, tackle what the leader should start doing and then move to what they should stop doing.
This last one is often the hardest for a leader to hear; it’s easy to become defensive and you may be tempted to justify your actions. You may not agree with what is said, and you may know the background or history of some issues that others don’t. But during this initial process, don’t get defensive. Let the comments sink in and thank everyone for their candid feedback. Deciding what to do with the feedback comes later.
If you want the full impact, do this same process for everyone on the leadership team.
Finding out what you should keep doing is an important first step in this process. It’s also a good way to focus on the most important items. There is often too much to do and this will help to really define what the team believes is the most important.
This could be a real difference-maker that could benefit not just your team, but the whole organization. When you know what new things the team can get excited about, together you can move forward to implement as a team, which can have a huge impact.
This part of the process may or may not reveal anything new, but airing the subject and discussing the differences is worth any anxiety you may feel about this aspect of KSS. As the leader, this exercise will help you better understand what some or all of the team is uncertain about. Focusing on what needs more clarity can have a positive impact on the team. And, don’t miss the opportunity to be transparent and vulnerable. This is great leadership for the rest of the team.
Keep, Start, Stop is a simple, but highly effective, assessment process. I recommend giving it a try with your team — you won’t be sorry.