Ways Women Lead: Creating High-Performance Teams and the POWER of Self

Between the #metoo movement, the #enough gun activism campaign, and the pay inequality gap, there’s been a lot of buzz in recent months about women’s leadership… How women “should” lead… How the world needs more feminine authority.

In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg told us to embrace our more masculine energies, to “keep our hands in the air” and “make sure we have a seat at the table,” while the authors of The Athena Doctrine encourage us to emphasize our more feminine traits, since the world hungers for that today, their research shows.

Both make many good points about their side of the pendulum but to me… that’s the problem. Pendulums swing back and forth.

As both a woman and a leader, if I swing too far either way on the spectrum, I’m not as effective, potentially off-putting, and frankly, pendulum-swinging is just tiresome and ultimately inhibits any meaningful progress.

It makes me wonder also, why is LEADERSHIP considered a “masculine” pursuit? Since when does being a leader make me less feminine?

The scary stats are even though there are more women earning undergraduate and master’s degrees than men, and nearly an even amount earning law and medical degrees, women are still vastly underrepresented in leadership positions. Women of color have an even wider gap. In 2018…

As I continue my series of growth along this personal and intimate journey to become a better leader and CEO for Lifestyle Frisco, let’s look at my experience with Module 4 of Marsha Clark & Associates’ POWER of Self program.

How Much Does Engagement Matter in High Performance Teams?

As leaders, no matter what position we hold, we all share the common task of working to support others in reaching their goals more efficiently and effectively. I’ve learned that I want to run the company so that our BEST people LOVE it! Not catering to the least engaged team members.

I’ve come to realize that businesses whose employees are highly engaged can:

No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helped you.” ~ Althea Gibson

So, I’m thinking let’s have hindsight now… At Lifestyle Frisco, what are we NOT thinking about that we should? What values do we embrace so that creativity, flexibility, and deadline-driven activities are front and center? Is it time to “reset the clock” on my expectations of the team so that when they’re “on” they can be “ON” and I’m not the roadblock?

Elements of High Performance Teams

My Biggest Takeaway from Module 4 is that high-performance teams are engaged, invested, and bonded together with a clear vision and direction wrapped in a culture of high trust.

I’m working to be a “SHERO” for this company, so here are the factors I’m thinking about most:

1. Setting Clear Expectations

The WHY, WHEN, and HOW are important, but the WHY creates a deeper, and more inspiring, reason to do anything for the company. In clarifying the WHEN for any employee, it’s helpful to determine and share any “range and reason” that you have available. What expectations might you have that are unspoken? Match your approach to providing expectations to the level of performance… i.e. the higher the performance of the team member, the less HOW you need to specify to lessen the chances of creating a dependency on you.

2. Removing Obstacles

Obstacles are either internal or external. Internal obstacles are lack of skills, knowledge, experience, or capability. External obstacles are things that block progress like lack of equipment, lack of resources (time, headcount, etc.), antiquated policies or processes, dysfunctional relationships on the team, and possibly YOU.

I’ve realized that I am the obstacle when I haven’t clarified expectations to my team, removed obstacles for them soon enough, or provided proper feedback and recognition. Personally, I’m now wholeheartedly focused on sales so that we can hire more people and I’m committed to a certain number of hours per week so that I can document our current processes and ask for the team’s feedback on improvements. After all, we ALL have ownership here at Lifestyle Frisco.

3. Providing Feedback

“Feedback” can be a scary word for people. Think of it as giving a gift… not venting or passing blame. What intention are you bringing to the act of providing feedback? Remember the predictable responses, and don’t mistake embarrassment for resistance. Most of all, know that you haven’t earned the right to be angry with an employee until you’ve given them feedback to their face and given them the chance to correct the issue. Every employee, even the best, needs feedback to move to the next level up.

So now, I’m asking myself “Who are you depriving of growth and development because of your unwillingness to give feedback?” Whoa… talk about a wakeup call.

4. Celebrating Successes

Who deserves recognition at Lifestyle Frisco? What type of recognition/celebration is warranted? You have to make it proportionate to the work done, and also authentic and personal. According to Gallup research, recognition has about a seven day shelf-life. So think about the times when your employees exceed expectations, consistently meet expectations, and/or respond positively to coaching and make progress towards expectations.

All four aspects of creating a high-performing team isn’t about adding more discussions and meetings to my already packed calendar. It’s about integrating connections with my team along the way by looking for opportunities to incorporate these things within existing conversations.

I think it’s time women have a candid conversation about power and leading effective high-performance teams. It’s a conversation that will impact men and needs to include them.

Together, we’ve reached a population of 7 billion; in another 38 years, we’ll rise to 9 billion. Women make up 52% of the global whole and control $20 trillion in annual consumer spending. Our decisions to create teams and lead them have a measurable impact on local businesses, regional economies, and the transnational marketplace.

How we choose to conceive and exert power as a group has the potential to define the 21st century.

Happy you’re still along for the ride on this journey with me, and if you have any comments or questions about this program, please give me a shout out in the comments box below.

FULL DISCLOSURE: This post is sponsored by Marsha Clark & Associates by way of Wendi participating in the “POWER of Self” program.