There is a lot of expectation for the new year as we all hope things will be better than its predecessor year. Now to get us all geared to be effective in our teams and organisations we have to be intentional about setting ourselves up for success. Here are 5 monthly habits that will drive you towards a better experience for your team in the new year.

Adopting these habits will help you stay connected, productive and effective throughout the year.

1. Get clarity on your objectives and be in alignment. 

It is imperative that you set clear monthly goals for your team. There should be a clear picture of what success looks like for your team at the end of the year. Everyone in the team should understand the role that they are individually going to play for that vision to be obtained. Going through the year without clear monthly goals nor a clear picture of what is to be achieved is like blindly embarking on a bus with no idea where it is taking you. The absence of goals or poor goal setting creates chaos and your team may get frustrated as they fail to direct their energy towards stable goals. Once people get frustrated, they tend to disengage from their work. At the end of each month, sit down with your team to evaluate the month and cast the vision for the upcoming month.

Reflection – Does your team understand how their individual roles contribute to the attainment of the vision? Does your team understand what should be achieved on a monthly and quarterly basis?

2. Take time to understand everyone in your team and learn how to communicate differently. 

People are so diverse and so are their personalities and communication styles. There is a Type D personality and people with this personality communicate by directing or commanding. Type I personalities are people who prefer talking and connecting.  Type S people are more of listeners than talkers and Type C people prefer to communicate by writing. Your team may be a mixed bag with people with these diversities hence a one-size-fits-all approach is not going to cut it. The way you communicate to a Baby Boomer is different to the way you need to communicate to a Gen Zer because these age groups have unique communication style preferences. Knowing who is on your team, knowing their preferences and needs are the keys to understanding them.

Reflection – Do you understand everyone in your team’s individual personalities?

3. Accept and embrace feedback from your colleagues.  

Every journey of personal growth or transformation always begins at the point of self-awareness. Comments and constructive criticism from those around us often provide an opportunity for us to know what we may have overlooked ourselves. Feedback is often rejected when people feel judged or when underlying trust issues exist. When people don’t trust the giver of the feedback they easily become defensive and are less likely to embrace that feedback. Be intentional in cultivating healthy relationships with those you work with. There is a need for understanding and a sense of community in departments. Feedback becomes easy to accept when you feel that it is coming from someone who means well and wants you to improve. Adopt the culture of having accountability partners in your team.  Accountability partnerships work when they are a collaboration between two colleagues who like and respect one another. Each pair gets to inform each other about their specific goals and they set up regular check-in times to reassess and visit these goals.

Reflection – How can you improve relationships amongst your team members so that they easily communicate and accept feedback from one other?

4. Embrace other people’s contributions or ideas.

People work in groups for a reason. Aristotle coined the phrase “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” meaning as individuals we have limited capabilities but when we work with others we have our different capabilities combined together, we are able to produce what is impossible for one man to produce. No one knows everything and collaboration provides opportunities for team members to learn from each other as they share ideas, experiences and expertise. Each month commit to hosting a brainstorming session where you aim to get to receive insights on a certain topic or problem. You will be amazed by the quality of solutions that you may come up with.

Reflection – How can you promote a culture for people in your team to share ideas and appreciate each other’s ideas? 

5. Aim to become more flexible and nimble

As the world continues to be on a spiral wave of change, it is important for teams to become more nimble and flexible. Set fewer and clear attainable goals that you can focus on. Gone are the days when as a team you measure all different kinds of metrics with the belief that the more you measure the better decisions you make. Only focus on metrics that measure what truly matters. We are at a time where we need to be more effective and efficient. Do not waste your resources e.g., time, budget and skills/ knowledge. 

Reflection – How can you change your decision-making process to allow people to be agile and not waste time?

Look into these areas on a monthly basis and make sure you act on areas that you see lacking. Let this year be a better year for your team by making your work environment, work systems and work relationships more healthy.

Article by Cynthia Mabaso Chimanikire