Want to get your team to perform better?

We all know relationships are key to business success, and I’m sure you’re as good as the next leader in managing your team, BUT, how much more could you achieve together?

In today’s article “What Love Island Can Teach Us About Leadership” I explain why you need to speed up the process of getting to know your people.

I also explain why “it takes time” is the biggest cop-out ever.

Want to get more done, quicker and faster? Then read on …

Leadership is a relationship

Leaders never make extraordinary things happen all by themselves. Leaders mobilise others to want to struggle for shared aspirations. Leadership is a relationship between those who aspire to lead and those who choose to follow.

You can’t have one without the other.

To lead effectively you have to appreciate fully the fundamental dynamics of the leader-follower relationship.

Value sits in the relationship.

You earn leadership from the people you aspire to lead. People choose, on a daily basis, whether they are going to follow and commit completely their talents, time and energy.

In the end, leaders don’t decide who leads, followers do.

The stronger the relationship you have with your people the more likely they are to work well with, and for, you.

I was talking to one of my coaching clients the other day and exactly this point came up along with their retort of “it takes time to deepen that leader:follower relationship to get us to the point where we can trust each other’s intentions and actions.”

Do you agree with that?

Or is it a convenient limiting belief that we tell ourselves?

It’s a limiting belief

Love Island is a great example of this.

Love it or hate it the programme is based on relationships and the speed at which they are made.

Just like business life, in the most recent series we can see some contestants who are very open and easily build relationships and those who were more guarded.

But, even the guarded ones will still build significant relationships in a couple of weeks.

In the “real world” that would have taken longer.

Relationships are not governed by time alone

The speed you get to know someone, including your team, is not so much governed by the length of time you’ve known them, but more by the quality and frequency of your interactions. 

If you take a look at the field of team development theory (for example: Will Schutz’s FIRO-B, or Bruce Tuckman’s forming–storming–norming–performing model of group development) they all talk about the stages a team goes through towards unity, efficiency and ultimately high-performance, starting from the time that a group first meets until the project ends. Progress through these stages is not dependent on time, but on events, interpersonal behaviours and intra-personal characteristics.

The quality and frequency of interactions varies from leader to leader, from follower to follower, and from day to day. No two leaders are exactly alike, no two followers are exactly alike and no two days in business are exactly alike.

Great leadership occurs when you seek to understand the desires and expectations of your followers, and when there is alignment between who you are (your leadership values) and their norms and image of what an exemplary leader is and does.

The Love Island situation escalates the relationships because the contestants are together 24/7. (Plus they have an incentive to win money as a prize, which is not so different from the workplace where everyone there also benefits from variations of financial reward, which also, for many, impacts their behaviour).

(I won’t start to draw a parallel between people being thrown together both on Love Island and the workplace, that’s for another article…).

 That constant togetherness speeds up the “know-like-trust” process*.

How? Because they ask the usual questions in a shorter time frame.

All that “getting to know you” stuff just happens much quicker.

The result is that they are confessing undying love within a few weeks, even days, of meeting.

What would be the impact if you could do that in business?

Well, I’m not advocating confessing undying love for your boss or colleague within a few weeks of meeting but I’m talking about the benefits of getting to know your team-members better, faster and quicker and to a greater extent than you have until now.

It usually takes me a couple of coaching sessions to get to know my clients well enough that I know the best way to work with them.

That used to take longer but now I ask different/more questions when I on-board them to speed up that process.

The impact is they get results quicker and I add more value sooner.

I’d call that a win-win outcome. 

What if you did the same?

I asked the same question to the same client I mentioned earlier and it made them think about how to improve their relationships with their direct reports.

What additional questions could you ask your team-members to speed up that know-like-trust process to result in them performing at a higher level for you?

Building a deeper relationship isn’t about time; it’s about the questions you ask and your intent when you ask them.

To find out more, get in touch via info@jmaleadership.com or call us on + 44 1604 340990.

*For more information on how to speed up the “know-like-trust” process I recommend looking at Chapter 8: “The Trust Equation” in the highly acclaimed and accessible business book, “The Trusted Advisor” by D. Maister, R. Galford and C. Green. In it, they describe the four key components that determine the extent of trust and the five crucial steps for developing, managing and improving the degree in relationships.