I am always amazed how annoying it is to sit in a wobbly chair. The cause of a wobbly chair is often that one leg is slightly shorter than the rest. Following up on last week’s post, we have a few options with how we want to deal with the chair. The easiest choice is to do nothing, let the chair be wobbly. When others sit in the chair, you can make an excuse for why the chair is wobbly. You can say that it is a good chair or you can say that you have had the chair for a long time. The next easiest choice is to cut the other three legs off to make all of the legs even. This choice is typically what happens in our education system in America; we teach down so that the one student doesn’t feel left out. In doing so, we end up bringing everyone else down in the process. The people that make the tough choice and make things happen realize that they need to do everything they can to build the short leg up so that it reaches its full potential and the chair becomes stable.
- As leaders and managers, it is our job to make sure that we create a culture of learning and accountability. This is how you can help reduce the number of wobbly team members you have on your team. Sometimes people are merely in the wrong chair, and by placing them in a different position, they no longer wobble. There is the occasional time when you simply have the wrong chair on the team, and you need to get rid of it as fast as you can so that other good chairs don’t start to wobble in the process. Keeping the wrong team member around isn’t fair to anyone. The great team members will start to underperform and may even start to look for a new team. The wobbly team member that you do not coach along the way will go to their next team and have no clue why they do not fit in. By creating a culture of learning, it lets everyone know that it is ok to make mistakes and ask questions. Creating a culture of learning leads to constant feedback. Regular feedback creates accountability. Accountability leads to consistency. Consistency is what transforms good teams into great teams.
- Five steps to help foster a culture of learning:
- 1. The first phase of the process as mentioned many times on my blog is to build relationships. Once you have a stable relationship and people know and feel that you care about them they will buy into the process. If you want this method to work even when you are not in the building, you have to have the level of trust that is built through relationships.
- 2. Set daily shift goals. Make sure that everyone on the team knows what they should be doing. Clear, constant communication is paramount. Gossip is what usually fills the void when there is a lack of communication.
- 3. Provide regular feedback. Both positive and constructive. Try to give the positive feedback in public and the helpful comments in private. If you see it, say it! If you see something, either good or bad, make sure to speak up. What you quietly allow becomes what becomes the rule of your command. Remember the 5 to 1 rule when it comes to feedback. For every one time, you need to coach someone you should try to give them five compliments before coaching them again.
- 4. Learn and teach one thing every day. This goes to having the right mindset as a leader. As a leader, you should always have a goal to learn one new thing and teach at least one person one new thing every day. This helps you develop the mindset of learning vs. a simply a mindset of accountability. The simple phrase “let me show you how ____” goes a long way to help build the relationship and thus create the culture of learning that we are trying to achieve.
- 5. Never lose sight of the big picture. Always remind everyone on the team of the “why” and the ultimate goal or vision of the team. People don’t get burnt out from doing something; they get burnt out when they forget why they are doing it in the first place.
- The most important part of these five steps is that every leader on the team must do their part in following all five steps. It takes the entire management team working as one to create this type of culture.