Communicate with grace and win the hearts and minds of your team.

Words have power. How and when you use them with your team has great power.

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You can sustain a healthy organizational culture by choosing the right words and the right times to convey specific messages or deflate the morale and respect team members have in you. So what are some strategies you should use in communicating with team members struggling to perform?

Make sure to keep things confidential and only shared between people who are in a “need to know” position. Maintain the trust and respect of the people you lead. Fail to do this and you have opened the door too much greater problems.

Do not talk about problems and issues publicly. Helping others save face is all about having the grace to treat people with dignity. Hold critical conversations within an enclosed and private environment.

If it is absolutely necessary to address an issue in front of others, try to simply redirect and plan on having the team member visit you at your office.

If you made the mistake of discussing something in public that should have been private, make sure to apologize to the individual and witnesses. Remember, you’re apologizing for the manner which you acted, not for redirecting the team member.

Be clear, specific and compassionate. Treat the person with dignity. There is no need to sugar coat things, but speak to people in a manner you would enjoy being treated.

If you have any doubts, follow the golden rule. If you have quality people working in your team, you’ll never regret treating them with respect, dignity and patience.

Small goals: Working towards the big picture through small victories.

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Organizations suffering adversity may often get stuck in the trap of hopelessness and defeatism. The question most commonly asked may be, “Why?” This frame of mind and corporate culture can stifle progress and compromise an organization‘s viability. So what’s one strategy leaders can employ when the road ahead looks unbearable?

One thing that is required of leaders is the capacity to be creative and find new ways to meet the bottom line. Leaders are given tools, leverage and a team to get the job done. However, at a time when the world feels like it has been flipped on its top, the way things “have always been done” may not cut it.

Goals are living and breathing things that can change given an organization’s needs, the team member’s abilities and the leader’s chosen trajectory. When organization’s are in crisis mode, it’s important that goals adapt as a means to promote hope and revive passion within the team.

Leaders must keep the “big picture” in mind while using new strategies to turn the corner and make something positive out of adversity. Leaders must redefine what team members need to do to be successful. When things are really rough, highlight the most minute accomplishments.You don’t win the race without having first decided to compete, train and become familiar with the challenge. Crossing the victory line is the result of one of several successful accomplishments.

As a leader, break “winning” down to the smallest levels and figure out when to raise the stakes.

Does your team all show up to work on time? Acknowledge it and let them know how important and appreciated it is.

Set small goals for every day of the week. Keep things fresh. Give them small targets that they can achieve. Feeling good and doing good builds upon itself.

Revisit goals and get your team’s feedback. Don’t be afraid of the conversation. Don’t be afraid of failure. Retool. Implement. Revisit. Show your team that you are invested in their success. Give them resources. Determine their capability to perform. Determine their capacity to understand the challenge. Arrive at the goals together and climb that mountain. Keep their focus looking up. Slowly, but surely, you will be able to stand atop the last “greatest challenge”.

Five characteristics in the evolution of a healthy and successful organization.

“It’s not you. It’s me.”

Ahhh, the famous, empty, line given at the end of a relationship most people have heard. In terms of professional relationships, what do you say when it’s really not you, but the leadership? How to figure out when it’s really them?

Here are five basic elements you should find within any healthy and successful organization.

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1) Leadership treats the entire team with respect and dignity. People are treated with respect and there are no double standards. Everyone is treated as an adult. Each person is valued and treated as an important part of the entire organization.

2) Everyone knows what each person has to do to win. Does your job description clearly lay out what the expectations are? The discussion should culminate in the sharing of goals; leadership’s goals and your goals are one in the same. Your job description may evolve, but you should always know what you have to do to meet leadership half-way. 

3) Communication and transparency. All team members need to know what they need to know. Important matters that affect your work or compromise your ability to perform at your highest level should not be withheld. Otherwise, an insurmountable disconnect forms that keeps loyalty, performance and gain out of reach for everyone. Leadership needs to trust its team with the organization’s well-being.

4) Accountability and responsibility across the board. Organization leaders and team members all share accountability and responsibility for their work. Leaders do not obstruct the good work of its team and the potential for significant contributions. People are given the tools to perform, the knowledge of what is expected and the opportunity to exercise their skills, knowledge and resources in the performance of their job.

5) Expectation of the very best. Leaders and team members are expected to bring their very best and make the organization the best possible. No one can be permitted to simply occupy a seat. Each person is expected to make the most of themselves in the pursuit of doing the best for the organization. Consequently, leaders and team members need to believe that they are each THE person for the job.

These are some of the essential elements required of any HEALTHY and SUCCESSFUL organization. There are others, too. However, if these elements are present, people will want to stay there because they are treated like adults, given the opportunity to thrive, and become part of a cohesive unit that shares a common goal. That leads to a strong team that can weather the ups and downs of an organization long enough for everyone to shine. Doesn’t this sound like an organizational culture you’d appreciate?

What can you do to help your organization evolve to the next level of service?