When your team is firing on all cylinders, it is a beautiful thing to watch. High quality work gets done on time, on budget and everyone is moving in harmony. Your team works as one and becomes the envy of your company, heck even your industry.
But what happens when life gets in the way? Maybe a team member or their family is dealing with a private health issue, or someone just gets into a funk. How do you work to bridge that noise in the system to get the team back up to speed?
1. Communication- you need to talk to your team member about what is going on and how you can help them. You also need to discuss with your team how to improve its performance with that team member potentially pulling less than their weight for a time being.
2. Confidentiality- However, you are not to disclose what the issues may be. That is for the team member to share if they feel comfortable. The leader should never be the one to break that type of news nor should they speculate on that person’s condition or state of mind.
3. Clarity- you need to keep the team’s focus and goals in plain sight. Changing or wavering on the team’s direction because of a personal issue brings great unrest to the team. Keep everyone focused on the tasks at hand.
4. Comfort- depending on the situation, you are going to need to assure your team that they can achieve their goals- even if a key contributor is not able to perform at their normal level. You also need to reassure the team member that they are valued and will have plenty of room for growth when they return to 100% focus.
5. Confidence- now is not the time for you to lose faith in your team. You need to believe in them even more in times of adversity. They look to you for guidance and strength. Be a pillar for them to build momentum and peak performance off.
One more thing, you need to get HR involved. They are experts in helping team leaders get through issues like this. Their insight helps you steer and guide your team through the trials and tribulations of life. Ignoring them would be foolish.
Good luck and become well versed in the 5C’s. Unfortunately, your leadership road is going to be filled with adversity.