In new management or leadership modes, collective and/or participative approaches are the bases and core solutions for a better environment and better efficiency at work.
How to switch from theory to practice?
This approach is not as obvious as it seems in practice. Many people tend to focus on their own needs. These new approaches however try to shift the perspective from « I » to « we » in an organisation, a community or a professional team that we often did not choose.
- Regular meetings driven by an agile coach can help improve teamwork: the coach, with the process pilot or process owner, creates conditions for the team to better be involved in defining and reaching common objectives.
- In more traditional structures, I experimented team-building and training exercises by using games or open and participative pedagogy. But it requires time.
- For groups and committees created through networks of experts or international projects, it is important to learn to know people. For example, before starting an EU project as a team-leader, I always ask the names and email addresses of the others experts in order to communicate with them before gathering. At the moment, I am involved in to two expert groups, in research and innovation and in sustainable development. We have established a six months presidency, hold a whole day meeting every three months, and have developed a platform to communicate internally.
Finding purpose and objectives
In any form of partnership, the level of success is significantly increased when a collective dynamic is developed. I have noticed that if we help people or teams learn how to reach greater objectives than those they thought could reach at the beginning of the adventure, we win a lot more.
In my experience, I consider that positive approaches are essential , even though sometimes they are more difficult to implement, as some persons have critical spirits or bring a lot of skepticism with them.
- For critics it is quite easy to point them out and avoid them as much as possible.
- I found out that a lot of very intelligent persons or persons who lack in self-confidence are the most sceptic to quick changes in their companies. They often need more time to adapt. Team leaders should encourage discussions around a coffee or at lunch to help them and the team get on board.
The purpose is also related to the objectives of the team. Good or SMART objectives (Simple, Manageable, etc.) will define the « well-being » within the team. These objectives are put forward by managers, but also have to be discussed and modified for acceptation by the team. Most important is that each member of the team identifies with these objectives and takes ownership of them. By doing so, collective objectives become everyone’s personal objectives.
Values sustaining purpose
In the introduction of his book « Evolutionary coaching » (2014), R. Barrett tells us that « only by focusing on the greater good can we create the conditions which give us the opportunity to find our greatest personal success ». I find evolutionary coaching in line with the P4 model (Alan Chapman, 2006) which is not to be confused with the traditional 4 P’s of Marketing. The P4 stands for People, Planet, Purpose and Probity. They provide us with a framework for behaviours at the individual and collective levels.
For R. Barrett, coaching should be evolutionary and holistic, and its purpose is self-realisation and human emergence. Coaches have to take into consideration the evolutive environment in which we all work. Individual coaches for personal development or collective coaches like agile for team facilitation, as well as new types of management should further develop these perspectives.
Developing a framework for teamwork and internal rules are important within a team. We also need to establish efficient communication and get to know each other. For this reason, take time to meet in person through any kinds of activity: wine tasting, serious games, etc. It is only with a sort of team intimacy that we as leaders can facilitate the development of a common purpose and collective objectives.