A client of mine and his team recently completed a series of assessments that we are using to understand where he is as a leader from his own perspective and his team’s.
He set out on this journey committed to his own growth as a leader and emphatic that his growth would benefit his team and the organization.
The themes that emerged from this process will be familiar to leaders of entrepreneurial ventures, things like vision, direction, delegation and communication.
In a recent coaching session to discuss how he would implement this feedback, my client’s brilliance and personality emerged as he proceeded to lay out his action plan. Every time he said the name of the strategy, he said it with all the gusto of the Budweiser commercial from years ago: ” WHASSUP.”
Watch the commercial here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDTZCgsZGeA
Here’s the WHASSUP strategy:
Walk Get out of your office and walk around. Walk the floor where your team members are, stopping at the coffee station or wherever employees hang out. By breaking down both the visible and invisible barriers that separate leader from follower, you eliminate any feeling of us versus them and create a team atmosphere.
Hear Listen to what folks are talking about, what their concerns are and their unique perspective on work, life and the world. Being silent and simply listening shows respect for others and encourages them to keep talking.
Ask Ask open-ended question to go deeper into the things you heard. Remain curious and genuinely interested in their viewpoints. You’ll be surprised by what you learn and the insight you’ll gain. Be careful not to try to fix situations or problems that might be mentioned. Staying interested and curious by asking questions will create trust and establish a real “open door” environment.
See Take notice of how people work, how they work together and the flow of work. You’ll start to see people’s strengths and notice opportunities to put people in the right spots to improve how things get done.
Speak Share what’s on your mind what you’ve heard, seen and learned. Speak about where you see the group heading and the vision of what everyone is accomplishing together. This keeps an open dialogue going and everyone’s eye on the mission and vision of the team.
Update Get and give updates about ongoing work, or answers to questions from other meetings or conversations. This further enhances the trust among the team and ensures people feel safe and that there aren’t any hidden agendas. This opens things up for creativity, deeper commitment and innovation.
Play Have fun, whether with work-related tasks or generally creating a playful, yet respectful, atmosphere. This further advances a culture of innovation and creates an environment where people want to be.
Here’s what my client had to say about the impact:
“The physical act of walking over allows me to break away from the current stream of client fires and business priorities to refocus my attention on the team or the individual I speak with. I feel like that short interaction is also a reinforcement of my accessibility to all, that people can have access to me by doing the same. Lastly, I believe that enthusiasm and positivity are contagious so each interaction gives me an opportunity to share some of it with someone.
I expect that as I continue to do this, it will give me a chance to help identify (and address more quickly) questions, issues and concerns that the employees are struggling with.”
Where might the WHASSUP strategy work for you and how will it enhance your relationship with the team and your shared work?