Today more than ever, it’s imperative that our team and work culture—even our culture at home reflects the mantra of “We’re All in this Together.” This week’s guest, author/speaker/consultant, Mike Robbins recently released a book by that title and in our conversation described the tenets, what he calls “the 4 Pillars of creating a team culture of high performance.”
Mike describes his life growing up playing baseball and how he observed the power of team chemistry. He noticed sometimes he was on teams with lesser talent that could win against more talented teams simply because they worked better together. Working in the corporate world after baseball, Mike was surprised to learn team chemistry and culture isn’t just a sports thing, it’s a human thing. He’s been on the quest to solve the puzzle of how do we create a winning environment of positive team culture for our teams ever since.
Today the game has changed completely as we’re working from home. We’re more challenged, but team culture is more important than ever.
What can help us create team chemistry better? Mike shares the ideas behind the 4 Pillars:
1. Create Psychological Safety: Group Trust comes from how the leader of the team operates. How do you actually behave when things go wrong or someone makes a mistake? It’s how we respond sets the tone for the team. As a leader, if you don’t operate in a way that allows for error or ask for forgiveness or accept a mistake, then your team definitely won’t. The more a leader is willing to share their humanity with their team then the more likely the team will be to trust their leader.
2. Embrace Sweaty Palm Conversations
“You know what stands between you and the relationships you really want to have with other people? It’s probably a ten minute sweaty palm conversation you’re too afraid to have. If you get good at having those conversations, you’ll build trust, resolve conflict, and you’ll get to know other people who are different than you. If you lean in, you’ll build incredibly strong relationships, but it’s a practice.” – Mike Robbins
Difficult conversations are more like fish than wine—they don’t age well.
Start with the truth—begin with authentic place.
Tell the truth when having a difficult conversation. Be transparent. Own how you’re feeling; address it. It makes sense to say something like “I really don’t want to have this conversation because it’s difficult. However, my relationship with you/the team is more important than how I feel.”
Being a leader means choosing courage over comfort when it really matters.
I’m feeling really uncomfortable, but I want better for us.
Own how you are feeling using “I” statements/“I feel upset because…” I own how I am feeling and I don’t blame you for how I feel.
If we can lead with vulnerability, we’re likely to incite empathy from the other person.
3. Care about and challenge each other—I had a Coach at Stanford who told me that he always believed as a coach. “I have to love you hard so I could coach you hard can we care about each other so that we can push each other to the next level? Care a lot and challenge a lot, but the care has to come first.
We all know what challenging others looks like, but what does it look like to care about people?
Listen to them. Ask them how they are and actually listen.
Appreciate—distinct from recognition—valuing people for who they are, even when they fail. Being curios and interested. You don’t have to like someone to care about them. You don’t have to know about them intimately, it’s about finding that common ground humanity.
Life Hack: How to have better conversations or healthier relationships at work or home? Ask for FEEDBACK—Ask our spouse/kids/co-workers what could I start doing that I’m not doing? What could I stop doing that I’m doing? What should I continue doing?
Learn more about Mike or buy one of his five awesome books at mike-robbins.com.
After the Georgia governor lifted the COVID-19 shelter in place order in May, Jackson Healthcare President, Shane Jackson and his leadership team began putting in place protocols to get the company’s employees back in the office in a safe way. From changing cleaning procedures, cafeteria guidelines and elevator logistics, Jackson Healthcare had countless considerations to make before re-opening its doors. Jackson describes the importance of transparency, about motives and allowing people time to consume the decisions made has been crucial. With so much difficulty in getting people back in the office, Jackson says others told him not to bother. Jackson believes it is important as a leader to have in-person work available for the company because of the mental toll working alone can have on people. Jackson says, “I believe at a minimum one of the kindest things I can do for our associates right now is to provide a safe place for them to socialize and collaborate with their colleagues. Working from home alone made me realize how much I missed people; I didn’t realize what it was doing to me and I’ve had associates tell me the same thing. There is power in being together.” Jackson concludes the ultimate decision of whether a company should go back in person depends on “knowing your people and knowing what’s best for them and the business.” Jackson’s tip for building better conversations and better relationships? “I don’t think you can be present with someone with a phone in your hand.”
On this week’s episode Brandon has a conversation with author, consultant, and host of the Badass Women at Any Age Podcast, Bonnie Marcus. They discuss the ways in which any employee should engage in their organization’s politics, and how women are uniquely challenged in getting ahead in the workplace. Bonnie emphasizes that “playing politics” is really about creating relationships where others understand your values, trust you, and are willing to be your champion. Brandon and Bonnie discuss the adage that “the three most important conversations about your career happen when you’re not in the room” and what you can do to make sure the outcomes are in your favor. In order to do this well, one must be a pro at self-advocating? Bonnie emphasizes that everyone, especially women, need to understand how to do it in a way that’s authentic and effective and clearly demonstrates how their work leads to positive business outcomes for their organization.