My Team is in a Constant State of Flux and It’s Killing Productivity

In our latest leadership report, we discuss the challenges of overwhelm in our third challenge facing leaders today, “My Team is in a Constant State of Flux and It’s Killing Productivity.”

My Team is in a Constant State of Flux

“It feels like the change is never-ending. Just when I think we have it figured out, something shifts.”

Sound familiar?

This is a regular conversation in many of my coaching sessions and it’s not the voice of a whiny leader. These are clients who are smart, driven, empathetic. They care deeply about their teams and are exhausted by the destabilizing effect of the changes they grapple with at any given time.

Change is inevitable and every leader knows that the plan set at the start of the year will not look the same at the end of the year. But what’s different is that the pace of change is blistering. It’s all destabilizing for the leader and for the team. It affects productivity and elevates the stress within teams creating a vicious cycle of reactive thinking.

The million-dollar question is: How do leaders keep their teams performing at a high level amidst constant change and flux?

That classic model of team development “form, storm, norm, and perform” seems like a quaint relic of a by-gone era. A slower time. The reality is that teams are finding themselves in a continuous loop of these stages, often cycling through them monthly. By the time leaders go through norming often they’re right back at forming.

The key to navigating this new paradigm lies in adaptive leadership and a shift in focus from managing to coaching.

We’ve been talking about being more “coach-like” for years, but this is not just about coaching individuals, that’s not enough. This new environment requires coaching of the team in the system.

In this era of constant change, team coaching is rapidly emerging as a vital skill. Unlike traditional leadership methods that might focus on individual development, team coaching emphasizes empowerment, guidance, and the development of team capabilities.

In environments characterized by rapid change, teams must quickly adapt, align, and perform and team coaching is an enabler of that ability.

Leaders who embrace team coaching establish strong foundations within their teams. They enhance all aspects of communication, foster trust, and build resilience, to enable their teams to not only weather the storm of change but to thrive in it. They understand that the key to high performance in a rapidly changing environment is a team that is adaptable, cohesive, and aligned.

Three Steps to Stabilize

  1. Align on Team Purpose and Working Agreements
    • Team purpose answers the question of “why this team exists” and is a source of stability amidst change.
    • Working agreements explain how to be successful within the team to achieve the purpose. These agreements are invaluable to help manage conflict when inevitably it occurs.
    • Embed the purpose and working agreements into the team. Use them for onboarding new members or for one-to-one conversations to explore how individual strengths contribute to the collective success of the team.
  1. Get Clear on Communications
    • Work with the team to be crystal clear on expectations about what is needed and when, document it and empower the team to push back on unrealistic expectations.
    • Lean into the Brene Brown ethos that “clear is kind.” Clarity about expectations is kind.
  1. Cultivate Connection and Collective Development 
    • Intentionally build team development into your meeting cadence where the team explores strengths, values and motivations.
    • The clearer the group is on the abilities of each other, the more agile and adaptable they’ll be when faced with yet another gnarly change.
    • Time invested in deepening self-awareness and the ability to articulate one’s own value proposition is always time well spent.

These days the only certainty is uncertainty. Building your own skills in team coaching will help you to form a team that operates within a flexible framework and is better able to navigate that uncertainty.

If you’re curious to learn more about team coaching and how we help leaders become better team coaches let’s chat. And, to read about the other trends we are seeing in leadership, download our 2024 Leadership Trends Report.



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