Leading Your Team Out Of The Comfort Zone
Have you ever had an inspired idea that you know will take your business to the next level? One where you can see how it will work out and are fully committed to it?
When you share it with your team, they don’t seem to get it. Instead, they see it as more work.
So how do you convince them to jump on board?
Well, the thing is, there is no overnight fix, and you may need to play the long game. That means having the right balance of passion, patience and persistence to stick it out and not give up. You will need to be resilient, open to suggestions and find a couple of people in your corner to help you.
And, there’s no convincing needed. Show the way instead.
As the leader of your business, business unit or team, your job is to help your team connect to the why and help them find their what’s-in-it-for-me. It’s your job to be the change sponsor, the chief roadblock remover, the dot-connecter.
It’s your job to be the most consistent advocate without being ramming it down everyone’s throats.
Never underestimate the size of your change. Sometimes small changes can have a significant impact, like when my team needed to desk location. Back then, you would think that the shock of someone losing their job would be a more significant impact, but not then. They were different times, and people were firmly in their bubble — their comfort zone.
When we ask people to move outside of their comfort zones, it can trigger an array of emotional responses lurking beneath.
Change can be a challenge when individuals are stuck in their comfort zone, even when that place is a little uncomfortable. For some, it will be easier to stay with what they know, and getting a paycheque is not motivation enough to move.
Commonly I hear from leaders and business owners, ‘the team should just get it’.
How is this possible when the leader is already five steps ahead in realising their vision?
And you, the leader, may not have done enough to paint the picture for your team. ‘Telling them’ is not enough chances are telling them is going to have the opposite effect. The team aren’t even close to getting why they should change even if it’s beneficial to them.
While we might want to race ahead and ‘tell’ the team to do it, you need to consider your team’s unique needs and differences. Teams are made up of individuals — to adopt the change; they must connect to it first.
The likelihood of failure is high if you don’t engage your people early.
The dichotomy leaders may face knowing the needs of their team members. It’s about honest conversations, regularly and showing up as your authentic self so that you can set the example for your team. It can be an uncomfortable approach if you aren’t in the flow of doing it already.
It’s a simple approach that can be hard to do. People need to be seen, heard and understood as unique individuals. The best leaders know how to engage their people at a level that helps them to feel valued, acknowledged and appreciated. Ultimately it’s the secret to any good relationship.
You aren’t a robot so take the time to invest in the relationships with your team members, and you will succeed.
Where to begin if you have a gap to close:
- Be upfront about your plans, goals and your why.
- Engage the team — ask for their thoughts, opinions and ideas.
- Test your ideas with the team — you might find they have a great idea that’s even better than yours.
- Meet with your team members individually and collectively regularly. Set a date and stick to it.
- Make it a thing — the priorities are discussed first and not forgotten.
Consistency will build trust, and trust builds engagement. The more involved your team is, the more empowered individuals will be. Everyone benefits.