As a leader, one of your most important tasks is getting your team unified and working together, with everyone pulling in the same direction. When you have unity, your people look out for each other. They pick each other up, they build on each other’s strengths, and they fill in gaps for each other. As a group, they make sure things get done in accordance with your organization’s mission and objectives.
What you don’t want is for this unity to be derailed by personal issues, back-and-forth criticism, and drama. All that does is tear down the performance of your team.
Too many teams are dragged down by infighting, by those personal dramas, and by people nitpicking at each other. Even the best organizations are faced with this at times.
As a leader, of course, you want to do everything in your power to get your team focused in the right direction. The best way to deal with the team disunity problem is to do all you can to never let it happen in the first place. By conveying your – and your organization’s – mission, vision, and values right from the start, and getting everyone on your team on board, you create that greater sense of purpose. That allows them to focus on that goal rather than on their own issues and needs.
But people are people, and conflicts are going to arise. What you as a leader need to do is to bring the conflicting parties together and re-emphasize the importance of the mission, getting them to recognize that there are far more areas of agreement than disagreement. You want to be sure that they share in your desire to help the organization succeed.
This does require you to listen and to understand what lens it is that your conflicting team members are looking through that is creating conflict. Most of the time it boils down to a very minor misunderstanding. Sometimes it is the way one person carries himself or herself. Maybe he or she doesn’t smile all the time, or say thank you when someone else thinks they should, and one or more other team members find that irritating.
As leaders, we have to get our team members to move past such minor things, and instead focus on the positives of where we are going as an organization. We need our people to recognize that even when they find something that irritates them, the way they respond is their choice. They can choose to see the quirks of other team members as incredibly tiny issues relative to the overarching issue, the organization’s success, and simply overlook them.
I want to reinforce the key point here. That is, for leaders who are building high-performance teams, it is critical to communicate your mission, your vision, your values, and the reason why you, they, and the organization do what you do. Make sure that everybody is on board and that there is unity toward that common goal, and there will be few if any conflicts to stand in the way of your team’s performance.