There are some situations in life that require silence.
- When you see a woman who has gained weight and you think she might be pregnant … by all means, say nothing.
- When you have boldly predicted that this year is the year for the Chicago Cubs … please shut up!
- When the dinner on the table is a creative blend of Tofu and Kale … you might want to stay quiet. Especially if you want to order a pizza instead. I’m just hypothetically saying …
Some situations in life seem to dictate the wisdom of verbal restraint.
Other situations in life keep us silent, not because of wisdom, but because we just have no clue what to say … or do. There is one particular situation in our organizations that often leaves the leader silently shaking their head. What situation is that?
The unspoken challenge of every leader.
Our team’s performance can often leave us wondering silently HOW to lead them better.
Whether it’s under performance, a lack of effort, weak follow-through or an unfocused and distracted team member, improving the performance of our team can be challenging. And many leaders struggle with how to talk about it.
I have struggled with it for years.
- Do I verbally chastise my team member for not performing at a higher level?
- Do I surprise them with an evaluation that addresses the expectations?
- Do I bring the team together and give them a pep talk? (yell at them?)
- Do I just get rid of them and find a new team?
I have done all of the above, and more, in an attempt to be more efficient and increase productivity. Even in a church setting, leadership requires productivity and follow through. However, it can be trickier because often team members are volunteers. Many leaders just stay quiet. It becomes the unspoken struggle. We aren’t sure how to address it and we don’t want to yell or be seen as the bad guy – so we abdicate. We stay quiet and our team continues to under perform. And then in our silence we resent our team members. Subtly it becomes ME vs. THEM.
The number one thing I have learned in leading a team is that silence kills. It slowly destroys my attitude and it quickly increases the lack of focus and excellence. If you are leading people who are under performing, the worst thing you can do is stay silent.
But what is the best way to speak up?
A few years ago I learned a whole new way to engage with those that I lead. It is not the only way to increase performance, but learning the skills to “coach” has certainly helped me.
What have you learned in leading teams of people who aren’t accomplishing what they could be? How do you speak up?