How do I create team alignment?


Hi there Claire here. CEO of Know Your Team where we give you the tools and training so that you can become the best leader possible and I'm back with yet another manager tip. And today it's something that I got asked recently actually by a more senior leader, which is how do you exactly align a team? I think oftentimes in times of high growth when things are uncertain when we're new as a leader, we absolutely feel this need for alignment to make sure that folks are on the same page and I think a lot of times when we do this, we actually overlook the most fundamental things to align on and get really distracted by a lot of the surface level or outer trappings of what we think are alignment.

And so today I want to really take a look at the two most important things to really make sure you're aligning your team around and the first thing is to truly make sure that if you want to align your team that you make it really clear what success looks like. Now this may seem very obvious to you as a leader because you have that picture of success very clearly in your head and that could be on a very broad macro level for what the actual vision of the organization is. And if the organization is successful if the company is able to do what you were meant to do, you know exactly how things in the world for your clients Etc will look like in five years 10 years Etc.

But for your team that may not be super clear and what they're seeing is they're seeing OKRs they need to hit they're seeing metrics, but they're not really understanding and aligning around "Well if we're successful, what does that actually look like?" So take the time whether it's on that macro scale that vision level or more tactically. Let's say you've got a project coming up this week and you need a set expectations and make sure to align your team in order for the project to be successful rather than saying here are the things I need done and by when, make sure that you make extraordinarily clear and our descriptive about here's what success in fact looks like and so aligning around that piece is really first and foremost a thing that I think fundamentally so many of this leaders don't spend enough time doing.

The second thing that you are going to want to make sure that you align around for your direct reports is something additionally that's often overlooked, which is you want to make sure you're on the same page and are aligning around. What their motivation is for showing up and wanting to do this work in the first place? So often as a leader when we're handing out the to-do lists, we're making sure that things are getting done. We're trying to chart the path ahead. We get really stuck on the fact that we just need to get this thing done. That it needs to just happen. But when we think about the energy that's required the amount of thought and preparation and creative thinking that's really going to have to happen. In order for this to go live in order for this to be successful in order for this to not have mistakes. We actually have to make sure that we understand what our team members motivation for even wanting to show up and do this work. Is it because they're looking to get promoted is it because they want and create the intellectual stimulation is it because they really highly value impact but understanding that motivation and aligning around that motivation saying explicitly and talking about explicitly with your entire team. What is the motivation and how does the sort of underlying motivation for why you want to be doing this work and why this project is important? How does that connect to what they care about? It's so critical to align on. Otherwise you're essentially pretty much just giving marching orders.

And again if the level of complexity of the work that you are asking to get done is at the level that I'm sure it is at then you actually require some extra umph so to speak and so you can get that if you're able to align around motivation. So make sure when you're thinking about alignment not just oh am I aligning on the due date am I aligning on the to-dos and my aligning on just what needs to happen? And instead make sure you are aligning around a very clear picture of success and aligning around motivation as well.

I hope that's helpful for you for this manager tip and look forward to having you join us for the next one. Thanks!

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