Having a vision of what we are working towards is one of the most important motivators humans possess. Knowing how to utilise this powerful motivation in others is therefore one of the greatest tools at a manager’s disposal.
When working in a team, a manager must be able to not only have a clear vision of success, but also know how to communicate that clearly and inspiringly to their team. In a virtual team, it is more crucial than ever to make sure your virtual team are bought into your vision, and are fully invested in working towards the vision and what it will bring for everyone involved.
When a manager fails to communicate their vision for the team, (or if the team don’t genuinely share it), the team lacks purpose, and will almost certainly suffer a lack of engagement and lost productivity over time.
When there is no vision coming from the leader at the top, a vacuum occurs- and as the saying goes, ‘nature abhors a vacuum’. This expression means that where there is nothing, something will rush in to fill the space. In a team with no shared vision, this can create several serious negative effects.
- People make assumptions about what the goals are
- People strike out on their own, taking projects or tasks in the direction they think is best
- People get bored and complacent
- People get negative, and even troublesome, perhaps stirring up unnecessary tension
- People lose their faith in the manager’s ability to lead the team to success’
Creating a vision
- A compelling vision has 3 key elements:
- Significant purpose
- A picture of the future
- Clear values
- Developing a purpose clarifies why you are doing what you are doing not only to you and your team but to your clients too. People need to know the business you are really in.
For example Walt Disney started his theme parks with this purpose, “We’re in the happiness
business” which is quite different from being in the theme park business.
- Having a clear picture of your vision is also a powerful element and your team need to be
able to picture it in their mind too.Going back to Walt Disney, he instructed his staff to “keep the same smile on people’s faces
when they leave the park as when they entered”. He didn’t care if they were in the park for 1 hour or 8!Remember the picture needs to focus on the end result and not how you get there.
- Having clear values about how you and your team will realise the vision defines a strong leader. This is the area where you can get the team involved. What values do they think will be key to them bringing the vision to life and what specific behaviours will demonstrate these values?
What if you already have a vision?
So, you have a vision for where the team can go, but you’ve either failed to communicate it properly, or the team have resisted your vision in some way.
In the case that the team have simply ‘ignored’ your team vision, perhaps it’s because you haven’t communicated the picture sufficiently to them, or they haven’t been involved in creating the shared values and behaviours, as explained above.
In a virtual team, communicating the vision in an inspiring way and working with your team to bring it alive is critical to a team’s success.
Finally, don’t allow the vision to falter, and if you reach the vision, make sure you create a new one. Remember without a vision, the team will lose momentum and you’ll lose valuable ground on your impressive success.
Until next time,