Did you enjoy the recent World Cup? Perhaps you are excited about the upcoming college football season. We sure are! With the concept of teams in mind, here are some important thoughts on how to view those team members within your company–the stronger ones and, most importantly, the weaker ones.
As we interact with business customers, we often engage with multiple team members. From IT and technology companies, to insurance, manufacturing, construction, transportation, non-profits and more, we have seen a common thread. The weakest team members define the level of excellence and execution of the entire group. Why do we say that?
Well, we know if you lose your strongest team member, the team gets weaker. We all get that. Especially if that team member is catalytic and can bring out the best in others. But let’s not forget the weakest team member. A complete team maximizes itself through the necessary involvement of each member and the collaborative movement toward a unified goal. If the team is moving together and if a strong player can help the team move more effectively toward its goal, then a weak member can hinder that movement (maybe even stop it altogether). We see this a lot, but don’t always have the opportunity to offer any advise.
So, here are several simple options with the last being, in our opinion, the best.
1. Replace that team member or have him switch positions. This is not always as easy as it sounds and the process takes a lot of energy away from the team’s progress. This should always be considered an alternative, but perhaps one that is explored after some of the others are looked at first.
2. Get rid of or redefine the position. In many instances, the issue is not the team member, but the role we are asking that member to play. Maybe your best pathway lies in updating the role to match current needs. In some extreme cases, it may be that the role is no longer needed at all.
3. Let the team work together to lift the weak player. Perhaps the first and best option is to give the team the opportunity to “heal” itself. This takes a whole lot more than just waiting around to see if something changes. It requires leadership that cultivates an atmosphere that includes trust, clarity, openness, and a keen emphasis on value.
If you really look at the team as a team, then each member values the other members completely. When your team has established that kind of a culture, you will see each player rise to match the value placed upon them by the others. You see, something very, very powerful happens when we let people know that we value them and believe in their potential. It sparks an atmosphere where your business will begin to rise to its greatest potential.