Where should I focus?
How do I determine my priorities?
I’m fielding these questions from leaders daily… and frankly, asking the same ones myself.
Leadership is murky and complex in the best of times. Enter 2020 – no additional explanation required.
But there is one thing that I believe you should be prioritizing: Your Team
Let me share three reasons I believe you need to be prioritizing your team right now.
- Your team needs to be stronger yet leaner than ever.
We still have a lot to weather in the days ahead. The financial impact is still uncertain. Budgets are not going to allow for extra staffing. That role that you’ve always had, that staff person who no one is sure what they do, the role that’s become obsolete because your strategy has shifted…you’ve got to make changes. In the coming months, you won’t have the financial margin to sustain the staff positions you can’t defend.
You need a strong, healthy, aligned team that can be agile and responsive to the changes still ahead of you. You can’t afford to get bogged down by disengaged, disloyal or disruptive staff.
It’s time to get clear on your structure and get honest about the best staff members for the job.
2. Your staff have changed.
Like it or not, the expectations, desires and needs of your staff have shifted this year. They’ve grown accustomed to working from home. They may not want to go back or they at least want more flexibility.
Their needs have changed. Perhaps they have health concerns for themselves or a family member. Maybe they have kids doing school from home. They have different needs and therefore different priorities, and that is going to shift their engagement.
What’s important to them is clearer. They want to do something with meaning and purpose. If we’re not providing a compelling purpose, we stand to lose their engagement.
Of course you can’t accommodate every request. But you do need to get clear on what you can and can’t do. What does remote work look like? What are your new systems for communication? How will you create accountability in a changing workplace?
As leaders, if we don’t get ahead of these changes and understand what we need to shift, we stand to lose some of our best team members.
3. Your culture has shifted.
All your rhythms as a team have been disrupted. How you connect now is different, maybe for better…maybe for worse.
Your culture – meaning how you think and how you work – has changed and is changing.
You’ve got to assess it and be more intentional about the culture you WANT to create. You won’t drift to a better culture, especially with the additional hurdles you’re facing.
If you’re not clear about the culture you want to create with your team, you’ll find it unrecognizable several months from now.
Prioritizing your team is especially critical right now. You should be defining your team values. You should be reviewing your organizational structure. You should be redefining staff rhythms of meeting and communication. All of these things contribute to the effectiveness and engagement of your team.
In the best of times, when vision and strategy are easy to define, you need a healthy team that is aligned and working effectively together.
In times like now, when vision is murky and strategy feels like a moving target, the commitment of your team is hyper critical.
It requires more alignment and more engagement to commit to a path that is unclear. Loyalty to leader and mission is more essential when our data is rife with complexity.
I know it feels like the “fluffy” stuff–the stuff you pay attention to when you’ve got margin and momentum, but I believe the opposite is true. Seasons of volatility and uncertainty are exactly when you need a strong culture to ground you.
Culture is how you think and how you work. It’s clarifying what you value and how you’ll behave. It’s your code of conduct. It’s your rules of engagement.
The anchor of culture is essential to tether your team together when they are weathering a storm.
Ideally, you would have done the culture work before we got wracked by the storm of 2020, but the next best time to get your culture clear is now.
Not sure where to begin?
The cornerstone for developing healthy culture is in creating strong, clearly defined values that provide clarity and alignment for your team.
Our new course Culture Works: Values Course will guide you through the process of creating values that are more than statements on a wall, but rather the framework that:
- Equips your team to make better decisions
- Stops micromanagement
- Ensures alignment throughout the organization
- Helps you achieve your mission
Get started today!
Keep leading well!
Jenni Catron and The 4Sight Group
Jenni Catron is a writer, speaker, and leadership coach who consults churches and non-profits to help them lead from their extraordinary best. She speaks at conferences and churches nationwide, seeking to help others develop their leadership gifts and lead confidently. As Founder and CEO of The 4Sight Group, she consults with individuals and teams on leadership and organizational health.
Jenni is the author of several books, including Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence and The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership.