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10 ways bosses improve teamwork and relationships


Last week’s post dealt with 10 reasons you may not get along with your boss. What if you are that boss? What’s your role in improving relationships with your people? Answer: you have a huge role, for you need to set the tone for professional relationships. If your team cannot get along with you, how can they get along with peers, customers and their direct reports?

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Here are last week’s 10 reasons your team does not get along with you and what your role is in each:

  1. Alignment– You are where the buck stops. You are accountable for aligning goals you get from the top with goals you set and roll out to your people. Have frequent check-ins to make sure the team is aligned with you.

  2. Clarity– If they are confused it is your fault. Yes, you have to be clear and you have to ask if you are clear and read their body language if they look confused. You must prepare your points, think about what you are going to say, say it clearly and concisely and test for understanding.

  3. Roles and Responsibilities- Demonstrate for your people how to get clarity on roles and responsibilities. Stop saying “We” will do this. Be specific with who will do this. Start assigning names to projects. Follow up with them. Hold your people accountable to do their responsible task and play their role. See #2. If roles are unclear it’s your fault.

  4. Thinking style- Hire diverse people with different styles. Appreciate the nuances and differences in approaches. Use what works for your team, and teach them new approaches. Practice the “Six Thinking Hats” approach by Edward de Bono. Communicate in other peoples’ styles. Learn your DISC profile and others. Customize your approach to your audience. It takes practice but you can do it.

  5. Face time- You cannot lead remotely all the time. You MUST travel to visit your team and customers. Be creative, make each face to face count. Plan for it so it is useful for both of you. Or, if you must, use video. Don’t multi-task while talking with your people, unless you are walking or eating together. You can walk and talk or have a meal and talk. Do not cancel on your people. This happens so much I cringe when I hear it. If you cancel, take the responsibility to set up the next call quickly. Nothing tells your people you don’t care more than cancelling meetings repeatedly.

  6. Freedom- Delegate and let your people learn. Let them own the results. Best way to learn is failing and improving as a result. You will be ready for the next level when you are a pro at this.

  7. Teamwork- Succeed and fail as a team. Teach your people to use the team for decision making, problem solving, innovating, celebrating, learning, growing. If you have loners on your team, help them learn their role on the team. Yes introverts can learn to reach out to others and collaborate.

  8. Vision-Your job is to define success and the vision you see. Create it with your team, tweak it, communicate it, test it, talk about it, socialize it, live and breathe it. Reward progress against the vision.

  9. Development-Give feedback often. Reward your managers when they give developmental feedback to their people. Be honest, help your team grow. Have a growth mindset. Believe in your people and set high expectations. Communicate often with them. Notice and appreciate their successes and efforts.

  10. Why, What, How- Start with why to engage your team and excite them. Be clear on the “What you expect” and let them strategize on the “how”. They should own the how.

Let me know how you do with these top 10 tips.

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