How can managers change their conversations from “Me” to “We” to build more effective teams? Managers must step outside of themselves to understand and reflect upon the benefits of their teams.
There must be boundaries – including communication, empathy, and respect – to allow for the Me to We shift. These areas will jumpstart the conversation and mindset shift.
Communication is what you say, how you say it, and to whom you say it.
Think about your communication style with your team. Is there an imbalance? Is it the same people sharing ideas, or more self-preservation and hoarding of information?
There are several communication styles that exist that a team lead should recognize:
- Passive styles – those who act with indifference, yielding to others – should be discouraged.
- Aggressive styles are expressed with a demanding voice, intense eye contact, criticizing, or blaming others.
- Passive-aggressive styles appear to be passive on the surface, but may be seething or acting out in a subtle way.
- Assertive styles are not necessarily overbearing, but rather aim for win-win resolutions. This communication style can be self-expressive and consider the needs of others.
Once you recognize your team’s communication style dynamics, you will discover opportunities to better regulate and facilitate conversations in which every voice is heard.
Having empathy for others on your team enables you to become a more inclusive leader.
Empathy gives the leader permission to be curious, discourage assumptions and judgments, and demonstrate a genuine concern for the team’s well-being. This creates an environment in which conversations become open, honest, and real.
Labeling others decreases in frequency, while support to better understand and help one other increases. One-way lectures become two-way conversations. These dialogues encourage innovation, creativity, and risk-taking.
Respect for people.
Respect is earned over time. Managers gain it by demonstrating appropriate behavior and leadership.
The manager must show that they value all constructive opinions and ideas. This provides space to become an active listener and be more open to challenges that the team brings to the table. It is an opportunity to collaborate and learn from one another.
Finding common ground.
Overly emphasizing the differences between team members decreases collaboration and productivity. It creates an environment of “us” vs. “them” toward managers, causing separation and divisiveness.
Finding common ground encourages empathy. Keep in mind that empathy is not merely sympathy. It engenders curiosity and understanding to step into another’s shoes.
Become an ally or advocate for an individual. Build trust. Create transparency. Hold people accountable. All of these behaviors will increase productivity, efficiency, and overall effectiveness.
The benefit of shifting from “Me” to “We.”
As you move from “Me to We,” you become an inclusive leader who is more people-oriented. You do more listening than talking. You become more transparent.
Your team becomes more empowered to take risks and voice their opinions. They will build deeper connections and trust with one another and you. They will be more willing to stick with you, jump over or knock down hurdles, and embrace change.
Challenge yourself to reflect on what you will start doing, cease doing, and do differently to move your team from “Me” to “We.”
This article was originally published on Ellevate.
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