team building

What I Learned About Being A Great Direct Report From An 18-Year-Old Intern

On Thursday of last week, I said goodbye to the youngest intern RCBA has ever had. She only worked with us for about six weeks, but she made such an impact that it was really hard to see her leave.

Megan is sharp, mega-talented, and has a keen strategic mind, but beyond all of that competence, she knows how to connect to people’s hearts, really commit, and fight hard to do what she does with excellence and love.

Let me give you an example. As my team is growing, I wanted to learn more about how I can lead them better. (Yes, I see the irony of the leadership coach wanting more insight on how to lead his own team.)

So I asked Megan to do some research on best practices, hoping to learn new ways to improve my leadership, which I could then pass on to clients.  Not only did she do precisely what I asked her to do, but without my asking her, she tailored her research to my personality type (ENFJ) and, more specifically, to what she had already learned about me.

When I read what she wrote, I was speechless.

I then gave her more responsibilities, which she mastered just as deftly. Then, with clients’ permission, she listened in on meetings and helped improve our trainings.

She has all the marks of someone who will go far in anything she decides to do.

If I take what I learned from her and add what I've learned from the other super talented team members we have at RCBA, I can see there are traits or practices that could lead to excelling in any role in virtually any company.

7 Traits of an Excellent Direct Report

1. Give your heart to what you do.

Are you just existing? Do you come alive when you are working? Is work just a paycheck? What if it were possible for you to come alive at work if you gave yourself to it?

I don't mean you should make work the number one priority in your life. That's not it. I mean fully commit to doing whatever is necessary to produce excellence during the hours that you are there. Invest, make sacrifices, find ways to make it fun, get to know those you work with, leverage their strengths, etc.

If you are in a toxic environment or doing something that really isn't you, then consider making a change. We spend so much time at work we might as well be fully engaged while we’re there. You have the power to increase your own engagement: just commit, invest, and sacrifice for it.

2. Set boundaries.

Megan and I could really enable each other to reach workaholic levels, but one thing Michael and Haley taught me was to set limits according to priorities.

For example, my wife and kids are a higher priority than work.  Intentionally blocking off time during the week, rarely working on Saturday and not working at all on Sundays has helped to cherish and grow my relationships with them. Having non-negotiable blocks for my wife and kids has helped me to make the most of my time at work and has helped me to enjoy work more.

3. Improve core competencies.

If you want to have a high impact at work, look for the most important thing which your role, your boss’ role and/or your team’s role requires, and start there. You will feel a ton of gratitude come your way.

4. Know yourself and your team well.

Megan is a self-professed Myers-Briggs geek. She leverages her ENTJ strengths and adapts to other personality types to foster greater communication and reduce the chance of conflict.

Ask each team member:

  • How to work successfully with them
  • How to energize them
  • What frustrates them
  • What stresses them out
  • What they are looking to improve about themselves
  • What they look like when they are chronically stressed, and how to best help them if they are there. (Often it is providing them with something that energizes them.)

Be sure to give them your answers to the bullet points above. We created templates for each personality type that you can use. You can find them here.

5. Manage up well.

Your boss does some things really well.  Other things could use improvement.

Megan was great at being able to see what I needed help with, and to fill in that gap.  She also gave some tips in passing that were very helpful.

If your boss wants to grow, that would be helpful.

6. Go beyond what you were asked to do.

If you always look for a way you can go beyond what you were asked to do, this will show your boss that you want to exceed expectations.  Don’t be surprised if your reviews and bonuses reflect that.

Make sure you complete what you were asked to do and then, in a separate part, show how you went beyond.

7. Risk sharing how things can be improved.

Ask how and when you can share some things that you believe could be improved.  Make sure that you are asking from a place of humility, not know-it-all arrogance.

Once you are given permission, say I’ve noticed X.  I wonder if Y could be a way to improve X.

Then let the brainstorming begin.

Becoming a valued resource for your boss, team, or company starts by committing not just your head but your heart to the role.  Looking for ways to go beyond sets you up for promotion and for leaving a lasting legacy in your role.

Chew On This:

  • What would help you to commit both your head and your heart to what you do?

Ryan C. Bailey is President and CEO of an organizational effectiveness company.

 

How to Ensure People on Your Team are Heard

Have you ever witnessed an argument, where one person is saying X but the other person is hearing something completely different?  Where the first person makes repeated attempts to clarify, but the second person still hears something completely different? Have you ever wondered why the second person is not hearing the first person?

One reason is that the second person has an entrenched belief.  Once we believe something, we filter everything through it.  The more intense our emotions are, the more we hear what we want to hear, regardless of what the other person is saying.

When this happens in a boardroom, it can be quite costly and embarrassing for the one who is not hearing.  But if you are a witness to such an argument, here are a few things you can do that can help them to hear:

1. Get the parties' agreement to help resolve the conflict.

First, ask the parties who are arguing if you could jump in to help resolve the conflict. You want to work in collaboration with them, which requires their consent. Then,

2. Slow things down.

Shift to a calm tone.  It helps the ones who are arguing to calm down.  If there is anyone else in the room, ask them to leave.

3. Normalize what is happening.

Look for a way to minimize embarrassment for the one who is not listening.  You can say something like, “When things get heated, it can be really hard for us to hear one another.  It can happen to any of us.” Do not place blame on the non-listener; instead, meet him where he is at.

4. Ask the one who is not hearing, “What do you hear the other person saying?”

Ask the the first person to refrain from responding or interrupting.  Then turn to the one struggling to hear and ask them, “What do you hear the other person saying?”

When they respond, don’t judge or condemn them, regardless of what they may say.

Instead, ask them if you could share what you are hearing the other person say.  It’s helpful to get their buy-in, but then share what you heard and ask them if you are off.

Then, ask them again what they heard the person saying.  Hopefully, they hear it more clearly now.

But a quicker resolution is possible.

5. Ask both, “What is the one message you want the other to hear?”

Start with the one who was not hearing.  Ask them to state the one message they want the other person to hear.

Ask the first person, the one who was saying X, to repeat what they just heard.

Then ask the second person, the one who was struggling to hear, to repeat it back.

At this point, you can move to resolve the conflict by asking them to align with what the other wants them to hear. Where they had been arguing, they are now partners attacking the problem, and you are moving towards resolving the conflict. Instead of seeing each other as the 'enemy,' they are teammates combating the problem together.

In a future blog post, we will go through conflict resolution principles.

Chew On This:

  • How can you empower your team members to better hear each other?  What beliefs keep you from listening well?

Ryan C. Bailey is an Executive Coach who helps business leaders develop in-demand high performing teams.

*This blog is an amalgamation of a few different clients.  No one single client is being singled out.

Ten Actionable Steps To Facilitating Great Skip-Level Meetings Part 2

Untitled design(8) In Part 1 of Ten Actionable Steps to Facilitating Great Skip-Level Meetings, we discussed how despite many attempts Bob, a business owner, could not get three of his eight teams to have higher engagement.  He knew he was missing the front-line’s perceptions of what was dragging down their engagement.   

In Part 1, we discussed the first four Actionable Steps.  They were:

  • As the leader, sit down with your manager and get the manager’s buy-in for a Skip-Level Meeting.
  • If you haven’t communicated much two levels down, start doing so months before the Skip-Level Meeting is solicited.
  • You and manager send a joint email to the manager’s team.
  • Create a safe environment.

Below are six other actionable steps Bob took to facilitate great Skip-Level Meetings:

  • Ask open-ended questions and do not judge or correct the answers. Just empathize and take in the responses.

This is a time when you want to turn on your curiosity and eliminate all judgment.  

As best as possible, ask questions from a positive vantage point. Some examples include:

  • What do you like most about being on the team?
  • What tools or resources have you found most helpful?  Why?
  • If you could wave a magic wand, what is one thing you would do to make the team even better?
  • Tell me about a time when your manager was most helpful to you.
  • If you were in your manager’s shoes:
    • What would you be focusing on?
    • What would you be doing more of?
    • What would you be doing less of?
  • What questions haven’t I asked that I should have asked?
  • What can I answer for you?
  • Utilize strategic storytelling.

When you sense one of the responses has a story behind it, ask for the story behind it.   Tell them what themes you hear in their story.

Find an opening to share a story that cements a key message or belief you want them to walk away with.  Ask them what they got from your story.  

  • Ask clarifying questions as you go.

If you are unclear about something they are sharing, ask questions until you are clear.  Among other things, asking clarifying questions shows that you value what they have to say and want to take it all in.

  • Thank them for their time verbally and in writing.

Thank them for spending the time with you and share what you especially found helpful.  Assure them that you heard them and will take what they had to say seriously.  Let them know that you will be weighing what everyone shares with you, and that you will be discussing their concerns, in order of importance, as you coach their manager. Ask them to be patient as you implement.

Then the next day or so, send them a thank-you email. Let them know that if they have anything else to share, they should feel free to email or call you.

  • Develop a strategy with the manager and execute.

Once you have interviewed everyone, look for themes and create a safe environment with the manager.  Share that you are looking to make things even better, and that you want their help in creating strategies to do so.

Discuss the themes you discovered with the manager.  

Gain the manager’s feedback on those themes.

Develop strategies to strengthen what could be strengthened and to meet the opportunities that were presented.

  • Follow-up.

Decide with the manager how you want to follow up with the group.  You could send the group a summary of the key themes. You could also share what you and the manager will start to work on, and solicit the group’s encouragement and possible help.

Skip-Level Meetings can be an empowering, motivating, and informative way to increase engagement and move the business to new heights.

Chew On This:

  • What would seeing your business from the eyes of your front-line do for you?

*This blog is a compilation of three different clients.  No one particular client is being singled out.

Ryan C. Bailey is an Executive Coach who helps business leaders develop in-demand high performing teams.

MBTI Bite: 3 Tips for Working with Feelers (“F’s” in Myers-Briggs)

Work With Feelers When I was starting out in the business world as a Feeler, I thought I needed to “overcome” my sensitivity and emotional-side in order to make sound business decisions.

I tried hard to become like the Thinkers I admired (“T’s” in Myers-Briggs) and freeze my emotions to come up with “objective reality.”  That just did not work for me.  I felt empty when I did not embrace the emotions I felt and others were feeling in the room.

What I once thought was a weakness, I now see as a core wiring that helps me make effective decisions and bring good to the marketplace.

Having coached in the corporate world for years, I have heard Feeling clients say that they needed to develop: thick skin, the ability to make the “hard decisions” that people don’t like, and to work successfully with those who don’t give emotional cues.

If you are leading a team where some members are Feelers, remember:

  1. Feelers want harmony.


Feelers are sensitive to people’s emotions.  They want everyone to get along.  They want to be liked, believed in, and viewed as competent.

Thinkers often freeze their emotions in order to get to “objective reality.”  Feelers embrace emotions in order to have the emotional data pieces to make a sound decision that enhances harmony.

As a conversation moves impersonally, a Feeler can translate an attempt by Thinkers to be objective as Thinkers being cold or uncaring.  This can trigger a fear in the Feeler that those impacted will not be treated fairly or will be not be considered.  This fear can color how they view the logic the Thinker is presenting and can lead to strong resistance.

A great way to help a Feeler is to make them aware that you (if you are a Thinker) have a tendency to freeze your emotions in order to discern what is true.  This freezing of emotions is not done because you don’t care about people but rather it is because you are trying to arrive at truth.  Once you arrive at truth, you want to make sure that the truth is communicated in a way that brings harmony to the team and that is especially where you will love their insights and guidance.

  1. Pepper what you say with emotional terms so that they can connect to you.


Feelers use emotional cues to stay connected with those they communicate with.  If every once in awhile you include what you feel about the facts you are describing that helps the Feeler to track better with you and not to assume that you feel cold.

If you sense that they are feeling resistant or defensive or keep coming back to the impact on people before you are ready to discuss that piece, assure them that you are still looking for what is best for the overall team and you want to make sure everyone is treated well regardless of choice.  Then say what doing that feels like for you (i.e. you can say, “It would be gratifying to me to not only come up with the best solution, but also that the impact on all is received well.  You just want to handle it one part at a time.)"

  1. Separate out the behaviors from the person.


When offering criticism to a Feeler there is a danger that the Feeler may translate the criticism as an attack on who you believe they are.  So make sure to first stress how you see them and then go into the criticism.  Then come back to the how you see them as you attack the behaviors that need to be addressed.  Always be sincere in how you see them or else it could feel like you are buttering them up but only to cushion the blow.

So you could say something like, “I believe in you.  I value you.  I have seen you contribute in valuable ways like when you did XYZ.  I want to talk about something that will make things even better.  Are you ok with us diving in there?” Get buy-in and make sure that they sense that you are on their side.  Then go into whatever feedback you sense is appropriate and then go back to what you said before, “I am saying this to you because you are already valuable this will take you to the next level and I want to see you there.”

I have coached Feelers who are in fields that most people would not expect them to rise to like in areas of Strategy, Accounting, Engineering, Statistics, etc.  Bringing their ability to pick up what others feel has been a tremendous blessing to their businesses.

Chew On This: What benefits does your company gain from the Feeler personality types?

Ryan C. Bailey is an Executive Coach who helps business leaders develop in-demand high performing teams.

10 Characteristics of High-Performing Teams: Part 2

High Performing Teams This is the third part of a three-part blog series on high-performing teams. The first article was about how to turn your team into the team that everyone wants to work for. The second article went into detail about five of the ten characteristics of high-performing teams.

High Performing Teams (HPT) are the teams everyone wants to work for.  They get so much done, and have a lot of fun doing so.

Many of us want to see our teams as already being HPT’s, but if we are honest, we can see where our teams fall short and then develop strategies to help them get there.

As previously mentioned, in the last post we discussed the first five characteristics:

  1. Open & Clear Communication
  2. Defined Roles & Responsibilities
  3. Mutual Trust
  4. Effective Decision-Making
  5. Coordinative Relationships

In this post, we will discuss the last five:

  1. Clear Goals
  2. Participative Leadership
  3. Managing Conflict
  4. Value Diversity
  5. Positive Atmosphere

Clear Goals

Is your team clear on what their goals are?  What percentage of their time is spent actually fulfilling those goals?  If that percentage is below 80%, what needs to be deleted, delegated, diminished, or delayed so that the team can stay focused?

Also, are the goals set up in a S.M.A.R.T. format?  If the goals are not tangible and clear, there will be debate as to whether or not they were achieved.

Finally, please be sure to activate each team member’s core values in order for them to fully commit to those goals.

Participative Leadership

When watching HPT’s in action, it is often hard to tell who the leader is. Members of HPT’s tend to push each other to bring out the best in each other and give ideas as to how the goals should be achieved. Often times teams vote on the course that should be taken and then all members of the team align to achieve it.

Managing Conflict

HPT’s resolve conflicts quickly and efficiently. They don't allow for resentment to build between team members. Other team members smell tension and they will encourage the tensions to be resolved.

Usually team members attack the ideas while affirming the team member who suggested the idea but sometimes egos can get frayed and conflict occurs.

Conflict is dealt with directly and honestly. They do everything they can to attack the problem and not each other.

Value Diversity

The best teams that I have seen have a good, balanced mix of Myers-Briggs types. As such, they cover each other's blind spots really well.

They also have people on the team of different backgrounds and levels of experience. This diversity assures that the best options are executed.

Diversity is a major reason why high-performing teams are very effective decision-makers.

Positive Atmosphere

High-performing team members contribute everything they can to maintaining a positive atmosphere.  Typically they become really good at energizing team members, communicating transparently, and staying flexible while generating options to lock on the solution. These teams know that they are going to succeed and that belief contributes to the positive atmosphere.

How does your team measure against these 10 characteristics?  Where do you want to start to advance these characteristics across your team?  Do you want to strengthen a strength or contain a weakness?

If you have the right team members, your team can become an HPT.

Chew On This: What does your team need most to become a high-performing team?

Ryan Bailey is a Leadership Coach who advances excellence across leaders and their teams.

10 Characteristics of High-Performing Teams: Part 1

High Performing Team In my previous post, I outlined five principles for turning your team into a team that everyone wants to work for.  In the next two posts, I will break down 10 characteristics of High Performing Teams (HPT).

I delivered a workshop on HPT’s in New York to the top sales group of a company.  On a white board were listed the 10 characteristics of high performing teams.  Those characteristics are:

  1. Open & Clear Communication
  2. Defined Roles & Responsibilities
  3. Mutual Trust
  4. Effective Decision-Making
  5. Coordinative Relationships
  6. Clear Goals
  7. Participative Leadership
  8. Managing Conflict
  9. Value Diversity
  10. Positive Atmosphere

The members of this 40+ team were asked to go up and put a check mark next to the top three characteristics that they believed the team already did really well.

This time there were four characteristics that did not get a single check from more than 40 people.

The leader of the team stopped me and asked her team, “What would it take for those four areas to reach the same level as the top 3?”

The conversation that followed was phenomenal as the team articulated real suggestions and gave the type of feedback that normally teams only divulge in a strictly confidential interview-style 360-degree-review.  All feedback was received really well and it served as a rallying cry that propelled the team closer.

Let’s break down the first five characteristics of high performing teams in this post and then we will cover the other five in the next week's post. .

These characteristics are not in order.

Open & Clear Communication

On high-performing teams, people say what they mean.  They express their opinions, preferences, and disagreements.  Those of us who are more feeler-types on Myers-Briggs may say it with more tact than thinker-types often do. But sometimes, because of our tact, we are not as clear right away as our thinker-counterparts are.

Being open and clear is a skill that can be developed.  Those of us who are extroverted often need to verbally process first, then we can get clear.  Those of us who are introverted usually think before we speak.

You know you are being open if there is no marketing to what you are saying.  That is you are authentic and can be pinned to your position.  There is sometimes a sense of risk that I feel when I am being open, but that risk quickly goes away as I sense others drawing closer to me.

The communication is only clear when everyone can repeat back what you said or better yet, paraphrase it in a way that gets to the heart of what you said.  Make sure on the major points that you ask your team if they understand what you said.

Defined Roles & Responsibilities

If you asked your team to write a job description for how they actually spend their time, would it match the one you would write as to how they should be spending their time?

As the book Essentialism stresses, everyone needs to know the most core part of their role.  They need to go all in there.  What percentage of your direct report’s time is on what is most essential?  Find ways to increase that time if it is not where it needs to be.

It is important that everyone knows each other’s role and what they are specifically responsible for.  If this is not clear, there is going to be some grief and heartache especially from the Judgers (see Myers-Briggs type) as they see people crossing boundaries.  Moreover, you probably won’t be producing superior results without this kind of clarity.

Mutual Trust

Trust comes from understanding how each person is wired, that includes knowing their core driver.  It also comes from repeated experiences where you can experience the other’s integrity.

I have seen team members, especially those who are being on-boarded on to the team, move to trust quickly with an understanding of each team members’ Myers-Briggs type and the one-pager that I mentioned in the previous post.  You want a tool that helps people really get one another quickly and you will see trust soar.

You will know that it is there because you will sense the team fighting for one another and you will sense that the environment is positive and comfortable even though team members push one another to get the best out of each other.

In the cases where someone has acted without integrity or where there are misgiving between team members.  Good effective conflict resolution that always includes ownership and forgiveness will also improve trust.

Effective Decision-Making

According to Bain & Company, the qualities of effective decision making are:

  • Quality - “How often do you choose the right course of action?”
  • Speed - “How quickly do you make decisions compared with your competitors?”
  • Yield - “How often do you execute decision as intended?”
  • Effort - “Do you put the right amount of effort into making and executing decisions?”

If you track the decisions you and your team have made a year or two ago, how would you say you and your team are doing?

What can you do to improve in any of those four areas?

Becoming a team that makes consistently effective decisions will increase productivity.

Coordinative Relationships

As result of the four characteristics listed above is that teams know how to communicate and coordinate tasks and responsibilities in a way that they outperform.  They know when they are coordinating tasks how to support one another throughout the process.  There is a sense of intrinsic accountability that will come through.  Sometimes it needs to be formalized but for the most part the team members’ tasks are not only in their wheelhouse but out of desire to accomplish their goal with excellence.

Chew On This: Out of the 5 characteristics listed above, which one would you most want to strengthen?

Ryan C. Bailey is an Executive Coach who helps business leaders develop in-demand high performing teams.

Turn Your Team Into the Team Everyone Wants to Work For

Team I sat in a board room with a business leader as we waited for his five direct reports to show.  As they walked in, the energy of the room was electric.  There was lots of humor and a real sense of camaraderie that only comes from having high levels of trust.

My job was to observe and at the end of the meeting give feedback that would advance excellence across the team.

As the meeting started, the leader who brought me said there was only one agenda item, which was: how to double their division in less than five years.

As they dove in, it was obvious everyone loved being on that team.  They were different personalities who’ve learned to leverage each other’s skills and talents.  They jumped in with various options.  Sometimes those options were ripped apart but they always tried to find the good in what someone suggested.  At one heated point a member of the team challenged another member.  She said something to the effect of, “It doesn’t feel like you are all in right now.  I’ve seen you come up with better.  Get in!”

The member nodded his head, sat up, and focused.  When he came up with a really good suggestion, she loudly said, “Yes that’s it... It’s awesome when you are all in.”  He smiled back and they kept going.

This team doubled the size of their division in four years, not five.

This is what is known as a high-performing team.

Everyone likes to think that their team is a high performing one.  However, high-performing teams have four characteristics.  They are a group of people...

  • …with specific roles and complementary talents and skills.
  • …who are aligned with and committed to a common purpose.
  • …who consistently show high levels of collaboration and innovation.
  • …who produce superior results.

These teams are found in the companies everyone wants to work for.  These teams are alive and energetic.  The get a lot done and they don’t waste time.  They want it.  They fight for it.  They don’t stop until they blow out their goals.

What if I told you that you can turn your team into a high-performing one?  

Step 1: Assess the team you have.

Do you have the right people in the right positions?  How do you know if you do?  You need people who are qualified to their roles.  They have the skills to fulfill their role but they also are fully committed.  Commitment often shows up by the amount of drive they have.  Are they hungry?  Do they want to succeed?  Do they want the team to reach its goals?  Where is their heart?  I would take someone with heart who had adequate skill over someone who had no heart and had expert skill any day.  The one with adequate skills will grow and become better.

As you assess your team, are there members who are floundering and probably could be in a role that suits them better?

On one team I worked for, after we completed a team Myers-Briggs map, a member finally understood why she was feeling like a square peg trying to get into a round hole.  She talked with her boss and they found a role she was better suited for.

Step 2: Discover the holes or blind spots on the team.  

Now of course we don’t see our own blind spots.  That’s where an objective outsider and/or tool can really help.  For the team from the above point, when we charted the Myers-Briggs team map we saw that the team needed to bring in a team member with a certain two-letter type.  Fortunately for them they were considering someone for promotion onto that team that fit that type.

Diversity on business teams is a must.  The greater the diversity on the team the higher the chances that blind spots are covered.  When they learn to leverage each other’s strengths, poetry happens.

There are other things to look at as well when selecting the right team members but we will have to save that for a future post. Once you have the right team members, you move onto the third step.

Step 3: Increase the emotional intelligence of the team.

Did you know that 58% of all job performance is directly based on emotional intelligence (EQ)?  What this means is that someone’s IQ and skills got them the job, but the promotions come from increasing EQ.

Unlike IQ, EQ can be increased.

A tool I love to use for increasing the emotional intelligence of individuals and teams is the EQi-2.0 Assessment.

This tool will give you 30 strategies specifically tailored to you that will increase your EQ.  It is one of the best-bang-for-the-buck strategies I can give my clients. (If you're interested in taking this assessment or learning more about EQ, email info@theunburdenedexecutive.com.)

As the team works together to support and encourage each other to increase their collective EQ, watch how the bottom-line rises as well.

Step 4: Get your team to understand one another. 

Teams need to know:

  • How to successfully work with one another
  • What energizes one another
  • What frustrates one another
  • What stresses one another out
  • How to tell if another member on the team is in the grip

There is a one-pager that I give to the teams that each member tailors until it completely fits them and then they all receive copy of each others.

Clients who are serious about advancing excellence across their teams tell me how they quickly glance at it before one-on-one’s or even in small group meetings.  Some keep these one-pagers up on their laptops for quick access to review during a meeting so they can connect better to those whom they are working with.

I also encourage clients to know what one another’s core drivers are.  You can discover what your team’s core driver in this previous blog post.

As teams get to know each other well, they trust each other more.

They know one another’s strengths and challenge areas.  They focus on the strengths and contain the challenge areas.

As trust increases they become grateful for how each member is different and is able to compliment them.

Step 5: Collaborate like champions.

High-performing teams collaborate really well.  Since they believe in one another they also push each other when they don’t sense they are getting the best from one another.  They are relentless in the pursuit of truth and they will attack what seems off.  They do not attack each other personally.  They attack the ideas and look to sharpen and refine them and grow them.

When there is conflict, they seek to understand the other first and they ask for permission to share their side.  They let one another know that they are for them and not against them.  They are quick to own whatever was wrong about what they did and they are also quick to forgive.

In my upcoming posts I will break down 10 characteristics that make up high-performing teams.  This will give you more meat to apply to the principles above.

Chew On This: If your team was a team “that everyone wanted to work for,” what difference would that make to your goals?

Ryan C. Bailey is an Executive Coach who helps business leaders develop in-demand high performing teams.

MBTI Bite: 3 Tips for Working with Introverts

Introvert I used to think that in order to be a top business leader, you had to be an extrovert.  However, after working with some introverts, I now know that is not true.

I am currently working with a Senior Vice President of a global Fortune 1000 company who happens to be a solid introvert.  What I love about him is how he takes in information, processes it, and then makes succinct statements that are really powerful.  None of the fumbling-around-verbally-processing-sometimes-sticking-my-foot-in-my-mouth that I, as an extrovert, can do.

If we are at a function, he does engage others, but after awhile he starts to get people-d out.  He tries to smile and be gracious, but it is obvious he needs his alone time.

As an introvert, he really shines when he has a solo project to work on.  I have worked with him through his last five promotions.  The higher up he moves, the more he is working through others to get the work done.  However, we noticed that he becomes a little bored and at times drained through the constant meetings required to keep his direct reports updated and their work refined.

One of the things revealed in a coaching meeting was that he needed one critical solo project to work on, while fulfilling his other duties.  Since we have implemented that, there has been no more boredom, and he handles the direct reports with his one-on-one’s feeling less drained.

How To Work With Introverts

As is implied in the above paragraphs, there are a few things to keep in mind when working with introverts.

  1. Give them time to process – As introverts listen, they formulate their answers in their heads and then they speak.  They may pause before responding.  One way to maximize their ability to process in this way is to favor email over discussion.  This is not to say that they would not profit from face-to-face meetings, but sometimes they would rather take in the details and chew on potential responses ahead of the meeting, especially if they are J’s (Judgers on Myers-Briggs).
  2. Protect their alone time – Are you noticing that an introvert’s calendar is getting filled with meeting after meeting?  Try giving them a chance to take a significant break to process what they’ve been taking in and also recharge their batteries.  Please don’t disturb them during this time as they want to be fresh for the next round of face-to-face meetings
  3. Give them a solo project to work on – Yes, introverts can work in a team and collaborate well, but they tend not to like the office gossip or the small talk.  They want to get into the work, perform their role well, and move on to the next meeting.

When working with an introvert, be sure to give them one solo project that matches their gift-sets.  If they are being “forced” into constant group work, you could start to see discouragement set in.  Even in group work, make sure they get some time to work alone on their own on a piece of the project, and then allow them to come back into the larger team.

Introverts are rising fast in the marketplace.  Those who are rising leverage their strengths, learn to work with their constraints, and communicate their needs to their team members so that all are aware of how to work with them successfully.

If you are leading a team with introverts encouraging them to do the same will increase their engagement.

Chew On This: Do you know which of your team members are introverts?  How can you help them to shine?

Ryan C. Bailey is an Executive Coach who helps business leaders develop in-demand high performing teams.

MBTI Bite: Three Tips for Working with P's

Perceiver Many of the P’s (Perceivers in Myers-Briggs) I know have a duality about them.  On the one hand, they feel like they are a mess: they can’t seem to “get organized” or finish what they start.  On the other hand, when they are in their element and have room to just be, they can chill or be the life of the party.  They love that part of themselves, and those of us who are J’s (Judgers) love watching it. (Okay, to be completely real, we are envious of it.)

The P’s whom I have coached in corporate America mistakenly believe they need to hide their "P qualities” for fear that those qualities will hold them back from climbing as high as they desire.  However, nothing could be further from the truth.  They actually need to leverage those qualities, and we who are J’s can help them.

If you are working with a P, there are three tips for drawing out the best in them.

  1. Set plenty of mini-deadlines ahead of the true deadline – P’s tend to work in bursts.  A burst magically appears about an hour before the deadline is due.  The amount of creativity which P’s show and the work they get done in that last hour is amazing.  J’s who are working with P’s or managing them often feel like the P’s are driving them nuts.  They wish P’s were more methodical.  If you are collaborating with a P, break down the project into multiple parts, then set clear and hard deadlines for each of the parts.  Make sure that you give yourself enough time at the end to refine the work that is being completed because P’s often wish they had “a little more time” to correct some of the pieces.  By leaving time to refine, you can both work on sharpening it.  You will appreciate the ingenuity a P brings to each part of the project.
  2. Don’t suffocate them with a rigid schedule – J’s like to be scheduled.  P’s like to be open-ended.  Many companies I work with have so many meetings that a P tends to feel suffocated.  The calendar is full, which works against their natural desire to be flexible.  If you want a P in a meeting, please make sure the meeting is essential.  All of us need space to think, plan, and review.  P’s also need open-ended space, where they can draw out their gifts for the good of all.  Granted, the higher they climb, the harder it will be to find open-ended space.  However, I would encourage P’s to carve out at least a two-hour, non-negotiated block in their week for free thinking.  Ideally it should be more, but even with that much, they will accomplish so much more than without it.
  3. Feed P’s with knowledge, wisdom and tips and watch them brilliantly mix and match them at the right moments – P’s know how to wing it.  The sharp ones are able to pull from multiple sources in order to wing it well.  They can adjust on the fly and come up with brilliant ideas that seem so well-thought-out, you would think they had been thinking on it for hours.  What P’s often need in order to nail this gift is more knowledge, wisdom, and tips.  If they are N’s (iNtuitives), they could accomplish this through reading the first and last paragraphs of an article and scanning the rest.  If they are S’s (Sensors), they typically they want details.  I would suggest they become thought leaders in the most essential part of their role.  If they set aside even 30 minutes per day to accumulate more knowledge, wisdom and tips, you will see it pay off dividends in meetings where their wing-it skills are praised.

All personality types are equal.  None are better than the others. We need to leverage each other’s natural gifts in order to accomplish the greater good.

Chew on This: How do you need to adjust for the P’s who are on your team?

Ryan C. Bailey is an Executive Coach who helps business leaders develop in-demand high performing teams.

Listen to Your Heart, It's Your Core Driver

Listen to Your Heart Think of those a part of your business for a second.  Can you imagine what it would be like to know what truly drives your employees?  I will tell you a secret…it is not money.  If they were to answer with “money,” I would encourage you to dig a bit further and ask, “What does money represent to you?”  Then listen carefully.  You are close to hearing what the true driver is.  Look for the principle.  Look for something that applies, not just at work, but across the board; something that drives most of their decisions.

You will probably also discover that this core driver at times is used appropriately and at other times it is used inappropriately.  If your employee has an over-desire to a core driver, they will be a slave to it.  It will truly master them and unfortunately will lead to destructive ends.

If they have this core driver in proper balance, then you will find an employee who is in a healthier place and gives gifts in keeping with that core driver.

The Six Categories of Core Drivers

Over the years, I have found that the true drivers can be broken down into six categories.  The acronym for remembering these true drivers is S.L.A.V.E.S.

S.L.A.V.E.S. stands for:

  1. S ecurity
  2. L ove
  3. A cceptance
  4. V alue
  5. E njoyment
  6. S ignificance

Find ways to motivate them according to the core driver they value.  For example, if they have an over-desire toward acceptance, you can still motivate them through showing them acceptance, but be sure to point them toward the balance of it.  You can say something to the effect of, “I am so glad you are here.  You are one of us.  I want you to feel at ease and rest and know that you belong.”

If you sense they are over-working to maintain that level of acceptance, then reassure them by saying, “I am concerned about how much you are working.  I wonder how long you can keep this pace up.  I would hate for you to burn out or to be less effective when you really need to be at your best.”

Discover what the core driver is by asking them or yourself:

  • What does X represent to them/me? (Above it was “money”)
  • When have I seen an inordinate emotion from them/myself?  Which of the six core drivers was at play when that happened?
  • What do they repeatedly talk about?  What does that represent to them?
  • When they/I make a mistake or screw up somehow, what do they/I most fear losing?

Chew On This: What is your core driver?


Ryan C. Bailey is an Executive Coach who helps business leaders develop in-demand high performing teams.