It was only two months after opening, and Ron’s new marketing firm was booming. He had a team of ten educated employees, he knew the field of marketing well, and his customer base was rapidly growing. Once a week Ron and his team would meet in their spacious conference room in order to touch base on the firm’s upcoming agenda. In the past few weeks, Ron had begun to notice a steady decline in his team’s enthusiasm and participation at the meetings. His members appeared tired, unfocused, and unhappy. Yet, Ron felt that his agenda was mandatory and more important than the noticeable dysfunction of his team.
One day, after two of Ron’s best employee’s had “randomly” quite the firm and left in a huff, an argument broke out during the weekly meeting. Employees were complaining about issues regarding power struggles, poor leadership, mismanagement, agendas, and a lack of vision, focus and purpose.
Sure enough, Ron decided to merely stop the argument and do nothing about it. In the weeks following, the firm started to steadily decline. Employees weren’t showing up for work, coming in late and leaving early, customers were complaining, the meetings became a kind of dictatorship with no participation from employee’s, and a negative energy was always present.
When Teamwork Fails, Build it Back Up!
Although Ron’s story seems a bit extreme, the lack of unity portrayed among his team members is often one of the biggest struggles leaders face. If done right, unity can bridge the gap between an average team and a great team’s success.
Current head football coach of the Atlanta Falcons, Mike Smith, describes unity as the key to what makes a good team. Based on his experience as part of the coaching staff of the Baltimore Ravens when they won the super bowl in 2001, and the many other teams he has coached since, Smith has notes that,
“Unity happens when leaders are committed to and engaged in the process of building a united, winning team. It requires focus, time, and energy. Unity occurs when team members care more about the vision, purpose and health of the organization than they do their own personal agenda. Changing the mindset is essential. Unity happens when each person on the team can clearly see how their personal vision and effort contributes to the overall vision and success of the team. This involves meaningful conversations. And Unity results when you weed out the negativity that sabotages far too many organizations.”
Unify Your Team, It’s Simple!
Author of the New York Times bestseller, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World and former Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, Michael Hyatt, describes that there are actually three levels of unity:
Acceptance. This is the first and lowest level of unity. People acquiesce to your leadership without protest. They may or may not agree, but they decide to go along because the cost of objecting—whether real or perceived—is too great.
Agreement. This is the second level of unity. People agree with your direction and generally support it. But they are not personally invested or committed to making it happen. You have their minds but not their hearts. This is why you may not experience resistance, but you can’t seem to make things happen.
Alignment. This is the third and ultimate level of unity. People are with you. They are fully committed to making your common vision a reality. They also have your back and the backs of their teammates. They voice their support in public and their concerns in private.
For more information on how to unify your team check out The Energy Bus written by, Mike Smith.