It’s just the way it is, explains Jess. My partner and I have opposite approaches to client processes and the team has to accommodate both methods. Jess knew the team would eventually need to settle this tug of war relationship, but she had trouble deciding where to start, since neither she or her partner were willing to work against their dominant approach to business. A smart leader, Jess has observed the impact of their differing approaches on the internal teams. “We need a clear and objective viewpoint about the differing methods of operation here, Jess explains, and then figure out how to merge some aspects of our processes before we lose key management team members!”
The first step in solving this challenge begins with a thorough assessment of partner execution strengths. I can’t stress enough, the critical nature of validating and comparing natural problem solving strengths BEFORE partners engage in business, whether this is an internal transition or a partnership. Fortunately, one partner stopped to notice how the daily tug of war was impacting team productivity and efficiency before it was too late.
Once Jess and her partner possessed the obvious common ground of experience and skills, and enthusiasm for their work, but this was not enough. We had to focus on the missing piece of the success equation – the natural way they each work through challenge to get things done! The results were eye opening and as always, brought a sense of relief to finally get their differences on the table for open examination.
The partners realized that differences are not weakness, and changing them to suit one leader’s methodology will only reap short term results. They learned that secretly judging one another’s abilities, and down-playing the effectiveness of their approach, was poisoning the team morale.
Consider this important advice; don’t look for allies when you are among differing approaches. Validate these abilities, achieve mutual respect for one another, and learn how to create synergy between leaders of differing approaches.
A common mistake among leaders is the assumption that a given industry attracts like minds. While professionals in the same industry may demonstrate similar educational and skill related strengths, they will not necessarily share similar instinctive problem solving methods. This is the part of the mind that gets left out of the engagement process and it is also the one that will kill organizational productivity.
Maintaining energy and productivity when partners want different things is not easy. Here’s some advice for your team, on how you can stay energized when enduring a marathon of opposing leadership approaches and daily tug of war.
Fuel the Body
A well-balanced meal or snack before work can help fuel the body, gear up for the day’s demands, and reduce early onset fatigue. Stress at work can make donuts and candy seem like an escape. Don’t let sugar sabotage your energy; go for a healthy snack or cool water break. Take a stretch break to get your circulation going; if there is no time to leave your desk, do this in your chair! Don’t forget a breath of fresh air puts the oxygen back into your body.
To maintain adequate energy levels throughout a stressful day, re-group and re-energize by an activity that engages your natural problem solving strengths. We teach our teams to rely on their natural distribution of energy to prevent an afternoon slump. You have a set amount of energy every day. If you spend it according to your natural approach to challenge, you can sustain it longer. Do the work that is against your problem solving grain when you are most alert, and spend the balance of the day working according to strengths. Negotiate time to ensure your work is completed with confidence that you have done what is needed. Step back a moment, and re-direct your actions to manage your time and energy. Remember you have a certain amount each day; how you spend it will influence your productivity.
Proper care and nutrition after work is just as critical for ensuring you can maximize and sustain your productivity each day. It is easy to collapse on the sofa after a long day of organizational stress. Take a walk if you’re too zapped for rigorous exercise, to avoid pushing your energy reserves to the point of exhaustion and still get your steps in! Recovery is a time to rest, and move your mind away from the pressures at work. Commit to yourself, take some time to care for you, so you can maintain your energy levels each work day.
A team cannot sustain productivity in a tug of war between leadership methods. Leaders should develop strategies that arrange individual strengths appropriately to achieve organizational goals. Avoiding leadership differences will cause one outcome – stagnation. Know your strengths, and put these into your strategic planning process so you can prevent performance set-backs.
For assistance in stopping the tug of war, call us at FIREPOWER Teams – We are here to help!