Is your team a little on the quiet side? Follow these steps to get them to open up and share.
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Sharing information is crucial to team success. Having team members who don’t freely share what they know, is a challenge that most teams face.
Sometimes people don’t make the link between lack of sharing and not getting as good a result as they could have had. But if we ignore sharing, then the cost to the business could be much more dramatic than we realise.
To understand how to overcome this challenge, we need to first be aware of why people may not be forthcoming with information.
· They believe that knowledge is power
With this belief people will withhold information as they expect it will make them weaker if they give information away.
· Lack of awareness
If there is no habit of sharing, people won’t share. They won’t be used to it so they won’t see it as important or even an option.
· Silo thinking
If people don’t understand how what they are doing fits into the bigger picture, they will not see a reason for sharing as they will only be narrowly focused on their own part.
· Not valuing your own knowledge
If you don’t value your own knowledge or opinion, you are less likely to think anyone else would either.
· Competitive thinking
If you see your colleagues as competitors, this will inevitably inhibit you from sharing.
· Fear-driven behaviours
It can feel scary to share. You may feel as if you are giving away something very valuable, and you may be fearful of what that does to your position in the team.
In some cases, information is withheld in order to protect others.
Solution 1: It starts with you!
If you want others to share what they know, maybe even having worked hard to get to know, take the first step and role model the kind of sharing you want to see. Fearlessly share what you know, what you’ve experienced, what you’ve learned. Then ask people to do the same.
Actions speak louder than words. Believe with conviction that it will make a difference, as people will sense your conviction and that impacts your results positively.
Justin Trudeau: Good communicators go far
Solution 2: Make people aware of the effect
To convince anyone that it’s worthwhile to open up and be generous, you need to explain why. Find examples of what happened when people did share and when people didn’t.
Give people feedback in the moment, real time, when this is happening. Tell them what you’ve observed and what impact it has on you, the team and the organisation. Suggest what to do next.
Follow these steps:
Think about the person’s behaviour that you have observed.
Then think about the IMPACT those behaviours have on the team, the organisation and finally on you personally, with a specific focus on how it makes you feel.
Prepare your suggestion for what they could do going forward (this can of course be positively reinforcing a strength as well as something to do differently).
Then give the feedback to the person and listen to their thoughts on the subject.
Solution 3: Create and run ‘sharing PODS’
Make it easy for people to share by creating specific sessions for this purpose. Create and run specific ‘sharing PODS’ where the participants are facilitated through a process of giving knowledge/experience input on a given subject. PODS sessions could be run for small and informal as well as big, more formal and complex purposes.
Examples of this could include PODS sessions on how to retain customers or talent. Participants would be invited to come prepared to share examples of what has worked and what hasn’t worked from their experience.
Solution 4: Link to the big picture
Take a look at the big picture with your team. Identify where you fit in the overall picture of the organisation. Start by considering the following questions:
· How does the work you do contribute to the purpose of the organisation?
· Who is dependent on your work?
· Who are you dependent upon to be able to deliver?
Understanding where your team fits in the success chain, needs to be part of your culture. This kind of ongoing discussion creates a heightened level of social awareness and makes people look up and look around them.
It's always good to recognise a team effort
Solution 5: Celebrate successes of when it’s worked and delivered results
Make the case for generous, fearless sharing by noticing when it happens and recognising people for doing it. Give individuals credit for their generosity and celebrate the results it leads to.
Be specific and point to cause and effect, e.g. ‘This person took time to update you all on what he had learnt in a process improvement workshop, and as a result we have all become more aware of process improvement opportunities and have managed to cut the verification process time in half. This has affected client satisfaction as well as allowing us to take on more clients, and increasing revenue.’
Force yourself as a team to stop and celebrate success.
Solution 6: Dare to share
Sharing doesn’t always come easy. It can feel scary, but sometimes you just have to be brave and step out of your comfort zone to make new things happen.
Knowledge is only of sustainable value when shared.
The speed of change means that it’s impossible to keep up to date individually. You need each other; you need to keep sharing to stay ahead.
Don’t delay - start creating a culture of sharing today.
“Leading Teams – 10 Challenges: 10 Solutions” by Mandy Flint and Elisabet Vinberg Hearn is out now from FT Publishing. You can explore the 10 challenges that teams face in more in detail. You can buy the book on Amazon now .See www.leadingteamsbook.com for more information.