By: Dana Poul-Graf, Founder & Strategic Thought Partner, Key&Spark
There are organizations that seem to be in the flow: their people are connected to their purpose, their performance is continuously high despite external turbulences, they innovate and celebrate. They are a magnet for talent and customers.
You can picture working for them in this way:
You feel good where you are.
You connect with others smoothly.
Not everything is perfect every day, but you like being plugged into this environment.
Your ideas are heard, and your strengths and talents are used.
You learn, grow, and so does the organization.
Sounds like dream?
Maybe. But this is reality for many who have consciously focused on achieving greatness. This can be your reality too as every organization can choose to start this journey. It requires humbleness, focus and dedication. It takes time.
To help you move towards this reality, I began listing the key elements you need to unleash the greatness of your team: conscious leadership support, fluid communication, relatable purpose of the company, and… And then I stopped myself.
Because I don’t believe in generalizations.
The often-named trends such as digitalization, economic volatility, and environmental and social challenges intensify the pressure on everyone in an organization. This is especially true for global business. In simple words, everything is changing so fast that we can’t rely on some concrete recipe that will magically work when we follow the instructions.
A list like the one I began creating can work, but only as a good reference, something you can cross-check to see whether you are on track and haven’t forgotten some important element.
You can also tap a mile-high pile of amazing books about teams, organizational development and corporate cultures – just check out Amazon. Every aspect of business, such as leadership, culture and engagement has been researched to death. All you need is Google and a pot of coffee.
So what new perspective can I bring to you?
No matter whether you are an individual contributor or a CEO, no matter what your strategy and goals are, key to most solutions and to unleashing your team’s greatness can always be linked in some form to:
- the relationships in the team/organization
- the level of self-awareness of each team member
While there are some important building blocks you cannot leave out, one key to a great organization lies in relationships and in our conscious way of building them within the organization.
People often blame “them” at work; employees complain that “they” treat them poorly. The lack of flexibility, adequate pay, fair treatment or any other pain that “they” cause us gets attributed to “corporate”.
But who or what is “corporate”? And by the way feel free to exchange “corporate” for any other organization, team, or club you are working for.
Any organization is a collection of individuals that willingly chooses to cooperate. So it is human beings working with other human beings in a relationship that they decide to enter. And those relationships have to be nurtured and consciously developed. This is not a responsibility of management or the CEO only.
This is our responsibility – your responsibility and mine, too.
In a previous role as Head of Global Communications in a large, multicultural company, I felt my mission was to enable the organization to create healthier relationships so that people liked coming to work. My team and I created many innovative communication tools and opportunities for dialogue and discussion for all our global team members.
Over the course of a year, we achieved a lot: engagement levels grew; people confirmed a sense of increased transparency and a newfound ability to relate to management.
But there was still more to tap into. For example, some people chose to not attend events that my team and I orchestrated, where they would have the opportunity to learn some crucial information that was relevant to their jobs. Others, when they attended, were present only in the physical form. Their minds and passions were elsewhere.
I wondered why they came at all. Wasn’t it a waste of time for them?
Photo by Dana Poul-Graf “Waste time of beauty”
Now, as a Founder and a Thought Partner to other leaders, I see business from a different angle. I clearly see the different levels of conscious engagement at work. And to my surprise, many people show up the same way every day at work, the same way I observed during the events: their bodies are there. But that’s all.
This is the second key to unleashing greatness: self-aware people are more satisfied in their role and consciously focus their energy.
People with higher self-awareness understand and can communicate their strengths. They find environments where they flourish. They adapt easier. All of which brings them personal satisfaction.
No matter what turbulent times they go through, they are more likely to stay resilient, focused and happy. They look for opportunities to contribute, to connect, to add value. They are more fulfilled. This pattern also repeats in their personal life.
My advice for all leaders, clients and friends: seek out any chance to deepen your self-awareness. Expertise is a given. People have the solutions, they are smart and resourceful. I believe there is greatness in every person and in each team. It is just waiting to be unleashed. The tool that I love and leverage with my mentees for self-awareness are Insights Discovery and Deeper Discovery.
Don’t wait. Start unleashing your greatness now by following these three basic steps.
- Shift your focus from performance to relationships. Be the relationship-driven leader!
- Actively support your and your team’s self-awareness journey on every occasion.
- Enjoy the process.