Are there conversations that no one wants to discuss or obvious truths that are going unaddressed in your office or in your team?
Well, maybe there is an elephant in the room.
Over our 15+ years of working with senior leaders, aligning management teams and getting whole teams to work effectively, we have noticed how skilled people are at tiptoeing around the real issues in the unlikely hope they will somehow go away. Sadly, when asked why these conversations are going unaddressed, the overwhelming response is either,
“I don’t have the skills to lead or tackle these difficult conversations well’
“It is not safe to do so”.
In 2017, Google concluded a 7 year study into team effectiveness. The study consisted of 180 Google teams, 200-plus interviews, and analysis of over 250 different team attributes. Ultimately, they determined “who is on the team matters less than how the team members interact, structure their work, and view their contributions” and the most successful teams shared these five (5) traits:
- Psychological safety: Can we take risks on this team without feeling insecure or embarrassed?
- Dependability:Can we count on each other to do high quality work on time?
- Structure & clarity:Are goals, roles, and execution plans on our team clear?
- Meaning of work: Are we working on something that is personally important for each of us?
- Impact of work: Do we fundamentally believe that the work we’re doing matters?
Of the five (5) traits, the researchers identified psychological safety was by far the most important — it’s the underpinning of the other four.
Researchers outside of Goggle have also identified there are substantial organisational costs for not discussing the elephants in the room. Allowing a problem to escalate can cause:
- Damage to business reputation;
- High staff turnover;
- Loss of morale;
- Decreased productivity;
- Increased stress; and
- Lost business.
One Australian study found that over 65% of performance problems result from strained relationships between employees and exit interviews revealed that chronic unresolved conflict is a decisive factor in at least 50% of departures.
If you or your team are needing the skills to discuss the elephants in the room, please contact one of our trained consultants on 3289 2933 or consider coming on our Breakthrough Leadership #2 – Leading Others program.