"Two monologues do not make a dialogue."
The title of this topic may seem a bit anti-intuitive to managers who are constantly in a hurry and want to be understood. They hurry with the best of intentions - just to get the job done. To feel the adrenaline of speed and achievement.
But 100% of the results in your teams only happen through people. There is no other way. Nothing happens by itself. And these people, before giving in to their work, must first feel accepted, heard, seen, and be aware of the goals and priorities. Only then can they focus their attention and energy on achieving the goals.
A good metaphor for this topic is when you squat before jumping. Before you jump, there is a moment of stabilization, squatting and only then bouncing. This jump stabilization is equal to your understanding of the people on the team with whom you are about to accomplish your goals. And only then, their understanding of your vision.
To build a bridge between your vision and its fulfillment, you will inevitably need a team to help you. Not a team to bother you. Sometimes teams naturally hinder and sabotage their manager. This is a normal reaction when people feel they are used and that we see them as consumables.
This does not mean that managers view them as easily replaceable parts. But that may be the feeling in the people, and that feeling depends only on them. We must make some change if this feeling of consumables proves to be chronic.
It is up to the manager not to ignore this sabotage by the team, hoping it will work out on its own. It is just a symptom of something that needs to be fixed. It can be a broken process that frustrates people. It can be the increasing pressure to do more with less. Or it could just be that people are not in the right places anymore and need job rotation.
The state in which you have the right people in the right places is always temporary.
It is only a matter of time before there is a change in the external environment, in the people on the team, or yourself. In other words, to have the right people in the right places, you will also need to have the right expectation that this configuration will be rearranged. To get this configuration - to have the right people in the right places, you must first be in the mode of listening, exploring, and getting to know each other. In short - in mode to understand them. And only then do they understand you.
Once people move towards their goals, the fuel for their movement is in them. Unlike gas station fuel, the fuel that drives most of the people on the teams is free. This, of course, does not mean that they work for free or for small salaries. That means something else. The fuel that usually drives and energizes the people in the teams for a long time is free because it takes the form of:
- Feeling that someone else cares about people as people, not just as positions;
- Having a sense of belonging;
- Taking pride in the work;
- Having clear priorities;
All the above are completely free. They give energy and meaning to the people in the teams.
In this list, the emotional elements are a little more than the rational ones. And they are in this sequence. When discussing engagement and motivation, managers switch mainly to a rational mindset - how to evaluate and compare performance, what the bonus system is, and so on. But people are driven much more by emotional than by rational factors.
And all these things that form the free fuel (feeling that someone else cares, pride in work, etc.) will not appear by themselves. They will emerge from people's communication with their managers. If these managers have the attitude to understand first, things happen very easily and naturally. The speed will appear by itself. Refueling with this free fuel, however, is not a onetime exercise. This charge also does not coincide with the monthly and quarterly job and career conversations. These second conversations may go according to plan, but refueling requires a different daily effort.
No one fills their car at the gas station until they run out of fuel. But that's exactly what managers do with their teams. They think of them as people, not positions, only after they run out of fuel. Only when they are already on the verge of burnout.
If you think that with monthly meetings or with such meetings in two weeks you can have and manage a team, you soon realize that you do not have a team. You just have people who report to you. But in reality - you don't have a team. Simply because you cannot know your people well if you don't keep up with them regularly for the operational and strategic goals.