4 ways to take your team (and your relationships) to the next level | MattFoxCoaching.com

4 ways to take your team (and your relationships) to the next level

He held his head in his hands in frustration.

The level of effort and commitment to move this organisation forward was immense.

And yet Charlie felt so let down by his partners who seemed to drop the ball all the time.

He struggled to stay calm and maintain his composure.

Inside he was boiling with anger, wanting to call a spade a spade.

Really let them have it.

He knew that probably wouldn’t create the results he wanted.

So he asked me, how I would handle it.

Now what I’m going to share is of course focusing on a work leadership situation but it’s actually universal and just as applicable to your home relationship and friendships or anywhere, where you are dependent on others ‘playing their part.’

What I explained to Charlie was that there are four parts to sustaining high performance in a group:

1) Ensure all the systems are fit for purpose and optimised

This could be the reporting systems, the management systems, the work processes.

When mistakes are made, of course it’s worth evaluating the root causes to see if individual capabilities were at fault or if training needs to be improved.

However most often it's a question of systemic failure or improvement and when we see challenges as systemic rather than individual it depersonalises them.

That means we can avoid individual blame and think collectively about how to improve the system full stop to bring it into peak performance.

Now this also applies at home.

Sometimes, for example, it's really hard to get my son ready for school on time.

Of course there may be some behaviour issues there but predominantly it's a systems issue.

Maybe we have to get him out of bed earlier.

Maybe we have to prepare him better the night before.

Maybe we need to have better expectations set.

All these things can be optimised for better  performance.

2)  Be an integrity with your word 

One of the biggest indicators for high performance is whether you are able to stay in integrity with your word.

What that means is when you say something we'll say you will do something you follow through and do it.

And if you can't do it or something gets in the way then you take personal responsibility for cleaning the situation up and making it right.

For example, if I say I'm going to get a report to you by a certain time and day and I'm unable to do that for any reason, then I make sure I'm clear in my communication with you about the obstacles and challenges I'm facing.

I treat my word as the most powerful currency that I can deal with. 

I value it so highly that I will do anything to make sure that my word is kept or that I take care of things when I can't keep my word.

Being in integrity with your word, is at the heart of personal high performance.

3) Make agreements rather than expectations

This is such a simple concept and yet when I first heard it it blew my mind.

I realised that in so many contexts in my life that I hadn't been working to agreements.

Instead,  I laboured under the idea that expectations were enough, that the other person understood what I wanted and would do anything to deliver it.

Now of course I realise, that often isn't the case .

My expectations might be very different from the other person's.

Without clear agreements everything is left open to the possibility of misunderstanding or misalignment.  

Clear agreements are the foundation of good interpersonal communication and Performance.

The breaking of an agreement becomes neutral and fertile ground for re-establishing dialogue, improving communication, and finding new way forward based on a revised and more solid agreement.

Again it takes personality and individuality out of the equation and creates a neutral ground for moving into higher performance.

4) Create others as high performers / well-intentioned

When we view people through a critical lens we tend to downplay or underestimate their capacities. 

We have a bias to see the faults and challenges and difficulties they present, rather than the opportunities and the greatness that they have.

That's not to say there is space to bring direct and accurate feedback to people to help them improve their performance.

However the starting point is acknowledgement of their value and their place in the team in the system and in their capacity to contribute effectively.

A very powerful tool to begin with in any context, whether it's at work or home is to begin with acknowledging others.

By acknowledging others, I mean really recognizing in a heartfelt way all that person is and contributes and brings into their relationship with you.

When we really slow down and start to consider deeply what it is another person brings, we fall into a natural state of appreciation.

We see qualities, we see opportunities for growth, we see depth and capacity and contribution.

When we create somebody as difficult or underperforming, again not disregarding data which might be very helpful, we bring a bias to our vision.

We begin to limit what we see as possible for them through that bias.

If we consider each person including ourselves as a blank sheet of paper in each encounter and bring curiosity and deep listening to every situation then we create the possibility for new and different performance each time.

Can you see how these principles would apply as much with friendships and life at home as they would with colleagues at work?

Knowing that the systems around you are working for you and as well as they can create a really solid Foundation.

Being integrity with your word means that you stay clean and true in your relationship with yourself first and foremost and then with others.

Making clear agreements rather than living on unfounded expectations means that you always have a place to return to when things diverge or go wrong.

And finally acknowledging other people for the good they bring, for their potential, their contribution as the default starting point, cleans the lens through which you see other people's performance and behaviour.

It creates more space for you to tap into your innate wisdom and brilliance and to get the best out of those around you.

Put these 4 together, and you have rock solid foundations for a high performing team at work.

Or, at home, you have a profoundly different way of navigating your key relationships.

Photo by Natalie Pedigo on Unsplash