Leading Healthy Teams: Lessons from Leadercast 2019 for Solo PR Pros

Leadercast Live is a one-day leadership event held in Atlanta, Georgia and simulcast to host sites around the world. The Leadercast speakers tailored their talks to 2019’s theme, Leading Healthy Teams, providing actionable information that applies to those of us with teams of one and beyond. Here are the highlights.

Ginger Hardage – Unstoppable Cultures

Unstoppable Cultures continues the mission Ginger Hardage began during her time as Senior Vice President of Culture and Communications at Southwest Airlines where she cultivated the airline’s trademark internal and external culture: “We put people first, we treat customers like family, we nurture our culture, and we try to change ahead of the times.” Her Leadercast Live presentation covered the 5 Lies of Culture:

1. Culture is someone else's job.

False.

Culture building is a requirement of leadership. One size leadership does not fit all.

2. All cultures start with hiring.

False.

Culture starts every step of the way, before you get people in the door. Hardage goes by the motto, “Hire tough. Manage easy.”

3. Culture is Fluffy.

False.

Culture does affect the bottom line. Start with your employees, giving them the level of information and training to act like owners and they will take care of your customers and your shareholders. Ensure that your employees can truly represent you in every aspect of your business.

4. If I empower my employees, I might lose control.

False.

There is freedom in a framework. If you've hired well, your employees will understand your values and framework and you can give them the freedom to represent you.

5. We can't afford culture.

False.

You can achieve the following four things with no money:

  • Live your values as a leader
  • Be inclusive with decision-making
  • Put storytelling front and center – start by aligning stories that match your company’s values. Be a collector of stories.

Learn more via this EntreLeadership podcast with Ginger Hardage.

Carla Harris – Healthy Teams

Carla Harris is a 30-year veteran of Wall Street and is currently Vice Chairman, Managing Director and Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley. She is also an author and gospel singer, with five sold-out performances at Carnegie Hall. During her Leadercast 2019 talk, she identified the five essential qualities of healthy teams and the ten aspects of focus for leaders to be intentional about creating an environment where healthy teams can grow.

Five Qualities of Healthy Teams:

1. Embrace Authenticity

In an environment allowing people to be who they really are, they will outperform.

2. Embrace Collaboration

A healthy team is comprised of winners who, together, can contribute toward the best solution.

3. Embrace Conflict

It is essential to have a “common ground” mentality.

4. Embrace Encouragement

Good ideas grow in a positive environment.

5. Embrace Motivation

This is the fuel to keep the team moving forward together.

Intentional Leaders Must Focus on:

1. Your Own Authenticity.

This is your distinct competitive advantage. Most people are not comfortable in their own skin; when they see you are comfortable in yours, they will gravitate toward that. It is one of the easiest ways to build a relationship. People will trust you.

2. Building Trust

We are all competing around innovation. By that, we will go into unknown territories, and we cannot do this alone.

3. Engage

There is no room for “My Way or the Highway” leadership

4. Creating Clarity

When people know what they are playing for, they will outperform.

5. Creating Other Leaders

Leadership is a journey from execution to empowerment.

6. Diversity of Thought

You need a diversity of people, thinking, perspectives, and experiences.

7. Innovation

You have to teach your teams how to fail. If people are afraid of failing, they won’t innovate. Be careful about how we react when someone has made a mistake. Teach your team how to celebrate failures: “Here’s what we learned because you had the courage to try.”

8. Inclusivity

How can we show up as inclusive leaders? The easiest way: solicit other people’s voices.

9. Intentional about Using Your Voice

You must be willing to call a thing a thing. You must not leave things unsaid, especially if it is having a negative effect.

10. Expect and Strategize to Win

Watch Carla Harris’ appearance at the 2017 Pennsylvania Conference for Women.

Patrick Lencioni – The Three Virtues

Patrick Lencioni is a co-founder of The Table Group, a consulting firm specializing in organizational health, teamwork, and employee engagement. He shared that organizations need to develop their people for and seek to hire people with these three virtues:

Humble

Seek people who are other-centered and not too needy. Although sometimes we apply humility to people who lack confidence; it is actually humility that a low confidence person lacks. Humility is about adherence to what is true, not denying your skills and abilities.

Hungry

This is a person with a strong work ethic but not to the point of workaholism. This person has passion, high standards, and they don't need a reminder to do more.

Smart

“Smart” does not mean intelligence or IQ. “Smart” is more aligned with emotional intelligence; it means common sense around people and understanding how someone’s words and actions affect the people around them.

Lencioni advises seeking “3 for 3’s” when recruiting and developing talent. Otherwise you end up with “the bulldozer” (who is only hungry), “the lovable slacker” (who is humble and smart but lacks hunger), or the worst, “the skillful politician” (who is hungry and smart but without humility), who Lencioni advises to neither hire nor tolerate.

How to begin this process with your existing team? Do this exercise:

  • Ask everyone to tell you which of the three virtues they think is your strongest.
  • Then ask everyone to share what they feel is their strongest.
  • Ask them which one they struggle with the most, making sure you explain yours first.
  • Constantly remind them in a way that is constructive as a means to avoid negative situations to develop.

When using this process to hire:

  • Stop believing that technical skills are more important than people (“soft”) skills. The opportunity cost is too high if they don't fit in behaviorally.
  • Improve interviewing. Conduct non-traditional interviews. Take them on your trip to the grocery store. Have them run your kids' soccer practice.
  • Ask questions more than once, especially if you have a doubt in your gut. Keep probing, don't ignore.

Subscribe to The Table Group YouTube page for deeper insights.

Juliet Funt –  WhiteSpace at Work

Juliet Funt is the CEO of WhiteSpace at Work, a consulting firm helping organizations go against the grain of what we all perceive as a productive activity to clear the clutter out of their workflow and create space for creativity and true productivity.

Funt shared five habits that help healthy teams create white space – thinking time, recuperating time, inspiring time – and dispel the current business culture of hallucinated urgency. Healthy teams:

1. Trade objectivity for urgency.

These teams talk constantly about what is urgent and what is not to determine the next best step.

2. Use the wedge between impulse and response.

Impulse control is an endangered element of modern work. The Wedge is the deliberate insertion of thoughtful time before making a response. It allows for a lucid choice of what to do next and helps regain objectivity.

3. Use an idea repository.

Collect ideas and let them sit for a while. First and final ideas should have some space between them.

4. Use deadlines as support.

Leaving things until the last minute is not always negative or procrastinating. Sometimes knowing there is an end of month writing deadline buys peace throughout the rest of the month.

5. Use the Yellow List

The Yellow List is a document you keep on your phone or computer (or even paper) to help cut down on email clutter. Create a list for each person or entity with whom you regularly interact. When you have a thought or non-urgent need to send an email, ask yourself if this is a communication that needs to be shared right now or can it wait until later. If later, place it on your Yellow List.

6. Create White Space for Themselves

When you have it, work feels different. Better. Clearer. More productive. Enjoyable.

Listen to the EntreLeadership podcast with Juliet Funt on Thriving in the Age of Overload

This post was written by Michelle Kane, Solo PR Pro Premium Member and Head Honcho of Voice Matters, LLC . Michelle has over 20 years' experience in communications management, writing, public relations, administration, and broadcasting.