StarQuest Group

info@starquestgroup.com

303.279.3322

Top

How to Get Your Team to Be More Courageous

 

During my career, I’ve worked with senior and executive teams to increase the effectiveness of their collective leadership.  One of the big skill areas that correlate to whether a team is high performing or not is what we call “Courageous Authenticity.” Put simply, does a team have the capacity to be real with each other; do they share their opinions openly; do they consider other perspectives without judgment; and do they hold the team interests above their own.

 

Over the past few months I’ve had several  teams identify this leadership competency as an area they want to grow and develop so it becomes part of their operating system. So, here are two ways to help your team be more courageous and real with each other.

 

1)      Be confident with your own identity, and share your opinions. When tensions arise, people often feel their identity is being threatened – examples include competence, need to be liked, etc. When threatened, people either get defensive or retreat. It’s impossible to be courageously authentic when you’re in a defensive orientation. I coach my clients to anchor back to the belief that they are entitled to their own opinions, just as others are entitled to their viewpoints. When expressing your opinions or as I say speaking your truth, you’ve got to be confident in your own identity and not worry about what others think. If you fear rejection, you’ll either go into fight mode or retreat. Bottom line, be confident with your own identity, and speak your truth even though it may ruffle some feathers. Advocate for yourself.

 

2)      The second way to be courageously authentic is to understand where others are coming from. There are three behaviors to start practicing as was outlined in Difficult Conversations by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen: Inquire, Paraphrase, and Acknowledge.

 

Let’s start with the ability to inquire. By asking solid open-ended questions, without judgment or blame, you can start to understand their story. Asking good insightful questions will mitigate defensiveness. The second practice is paraphrasing. Paraphrasing is about replaying back what you are hearing to ensure you are getting it. Phrasing such as “I’m hearing that you and your team are feeling threatened by this new policy, is that correct?” And lastly, people need acknowledgement to feel valued. They need to know their opinions matter and that they matter. Acknowledging does not mean that you’re agreeing with them, it simply means you understand and are hearing their position. Acknowledgment phrasing sounds like, “I now see where you’re coming from and I understand your concerns.” You have not agreed with them, just acknowledged their viewpoint and/or position.

 

If team leaders start to practice these two skill areas, their level of courageous authenticity will increase. And as we know from our work with The Leadership Circle, courageous authenticity is one of those power competencies that impact all aspects of a team’s performance.

 

If you have ideas and suggestions to help teams show up more courageously, post your comments and join the discussion!

Tom Athenour

Tom has been in the people development business for over 20 years, and has worked with a variety of organizations from start-ups to Fortune 1000 companies. Prior to co-founding StarQuest Group in 1998, he was vice president of marketing for International Learning Systems, Inc., an international performance development consulting firm that worked with Fortune 500 companies worldwide. Before entering the learning and development business, he was in the financial services industry and held leadership positions in marketing, operations and sales. He has worked for companies including Bank of America, California Bancshares, Inc. and Piper Jaffray. Tom currently serves on the board of directors for the Rocky Mountain HR People & Strategy Association (HRPS), and is a member of the Sales Management Association, and the Association for Talent Development. He also is a community leader for YoungLife. He holds an MBA from St. Mary's College of California, and BS in Marketing from the University of Santa Clara.

No Comments

Leave a Comment