Empowering team leaders to manage reality

Andy Welsh
January 12, 2024

Senior leaders can find themselves at a crossroads when it comes to implementing a tool that engages employees for insights and improvement.

One direction is of course a traditional top down employee engagement survey.

Another would be a platform like Teamgage, that actively encourages teams to address the reality of their situation, so it can be improved. But is your organisation ready for an approach like this?

Unlocking honest conversations:
Teamgage distinguishes itself by steering away from asking lots of conventional, cookie-cutter questions. Instead, we focus on a small set of metrics unique to you, that can directly impact team performance. An example might be "What's blocking you from doing your best work?"

Then instead of HR trying to understand the nuance of these insights across each team, Teamgage empowers the teams themselves to own and improve their own real-time results. It's often these quick, anonymous insights, that spark the conversations, actions and improvement that a team needs to improve at that moment.

As Jo McCarthy, Unit Manager Organisational Development at City of Marion explains "Teamgage is not just a “People and Culture” thing. It allows teams to really work together, share responsibilities and partner with each other."

Overcoming hesitations:
For some senior leaders, the idea of relinquishing a degree of top-down control and embracing such a bottom-up approach might seem daunting. The questions arise:

Are we mature enough as an organisation for this? Do teams have the time for these conversations, and are team managers adequately equipped to lead them?

The allure of reverting to the traditional top-down survey, or even standing still and maintaining the status quo might seem like a safer bet.

The call for bravery:
This is where Senior Leaders need to exhibit courage, patience, and trust in their teams.

According to Noelle Smit, CEO of Teamgage, "If team leaders can conduct one-on-one performance reviews, they can learn to comfortably navigate through Teamgage results with their teams. Plus, we need to be mindful of supporting those leaders who are at the standard we aspire to, rather than holding everyone back."

Navigating the learning curve:
Acknowledging that change can be difficult for some, the Teamgage Customer Success team support and encourage leaders to understand that perfection isn't a requirement from day one.

Continuous improvement is the key focus, and it's normal for teams and their leaders to take a few months to build trust in both creating Teamgage submissions and then improving their team results.

Luke Havelberg, CIO at Flinders University, shares, "In the early stages, it was variable. Some teams picked it up and ran with it, and others were really challenged by it…you've just got to stick at it."

The evolution of reality management:
As teams progress, these quick and simple catch-ups on Teamgage results becomes less daunting and part of business-as-usual. The platform creates an environment where teams feel increasingly secure in raising ideas for improvement; an issue, frustration or blockage; or even a suspected risk.

Leaders, in turn, begin to recognise the benefit to exploring and improving the reality of their team's situation, rather than simply what they hope or think it might be.

"Staff are excited to be part of the improvement process and team leaders are finding the results give their team meetings direction" suggests Samantha Kruger, Acting Director of Allied Health at Flinders Medical Centre.

Sarah Leo, CEO of Resonate Consultants adds “Teamgage gives our teams a space to add anonymous comments and observations that are otherwise hard to raise. The structure of the platform allows us to focus on discussion rather than the individual. Because of that, we can systemise the problem, rather than making it personal, so that people feel safe to raise issues. It’s about best practice for having continuous improvement conversations.”

Positive outcomes:
So Teamgage really does play a crucial role in helping teams to raise and take action on things getting in their way, rather than waiting for slower, top-down approaches to be collated, analysed and finally implemented.

Steve Burnell, Senior Organisational Development Specialist at NEC Australia highlights, "Insights provided help business leaders and business partnering teams identify and address issues early, delivering a positive outcome for staff engagement and business performance."

When these tangible benefits start to materialise within your teams, more teams and leaders will start to think even more positively about the team engagement process creating a snowball effect. For example, over at the City of Marion, through using all aspects of the Teamgage platform, they had an increase of 86% in teams discussing their results, plus an increase of 37% in employee feedback response rates.

Targeted support for struggling team leaders:
And for those team leaders that continue to struggle with this?

Well, Senior Leaders will be able to access their own top-down reports that showcase all team results, actions and comments generated, submission rates and staff turnover. This means that support can be targeted to those areas that need it most.

Michael Harrison, CIO at the Attorney-General’s Department explains, "The robust analytics dashboard provides a seamless breakdown of feedback allowing us to identify strengths and areas for improvement swiftly."

This information can also be used to create really valuable data-driven conversations whenever senior leaders meet with a team leader.

So the conversation isn’t “how’s your team going” and they go “yeah, alright.” says Luke Havelberg, CIO at Flinders University. It’s “I can see your Communication dial is trending down, I can see some of the comments coming through, why do you think this is, what actions are you taking to remediate it?”

Tangible rewards:
The journey to high-performing teams starts now, and remember, the rewards are tangible:

  • teams talking about and improving metrics important to you
  • teams thriving on openness, collaboration and continuous improvement
  • greater visibility on real-time team performance
  • a safe space for people to flag risks and for them to be rectified early
  • leaders managing reality without important issues going unspoken
  • lower staff turnover through increased engagement and frustrations being removed in a timely manner
  • regular, individual team improvements combining to create a significant impact on the overall performance of the organisation

It's time to aspire to the highest levels of transparency, performance and continuous improvement.

Let's do this together!

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