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The answer to 'million dollar' question the best leaders understand

·3-min read
Young woman draws on glass window as team in office watches on.
What's the alchemy behind a good team? It can come down to one person. (Source: Getty)

Good teams are defined by trust, communication, purpose, honesty and praise. It’s not a difficult concept to grasp, but identifying weaknesses in leadership is the trick, work futurist Dom Price has said.

Only 12 per cent of Australian workplace teams can be considered healthy, new research from software firm Atlassian has found.

That’s due to low levels of trust, difficult organisational structures and a belief that decisions aren’t made openly.

The Atlassian research also identified that many leaders need to do more to build purpose, transparency and cohesion within their teams.

But are leaders good at identifying their own deficiencies? Well, that's a "million dollar" question, Price told Yahoo Finance.

But the answer begins with stepping back and opening up.

Better leaders collaborate

“What this [research] showed us is that in an interesting way, leaders are putting too much pressure on themselves to… have the answer,” Price said.

But by attempting to find the solutions without collaboration, steps taken to boost team culture won’t stick at best, and could exacerbate existing issues at worst.

“As a leader, your team members want you to be a force multiplier but they don’t want you to do it alone. They actually just want you to listen,” he said.

“A lot of leaders have almost regressed to a 1980s, 1990s version of a leader and they feel like they have to have the answer and they must declare the answer confidently to their teammates without realising that… they will get the answer wrong - and it’s not on them.”

Instead, it’s critical that leaders remember to work as a team, rather than pursuing a “lone genius” method of leadership.

The solution to the Great Resignation? Don’t overcomplicate it, just talk

As different parts of the world exit and enter lockdown, and the Great Resignation prompts mass movement in the labour market, it means asking the question: ‘How do we want to work as a team?’

It doesn’t need to be hard, Price added, noting that it just takes one hour to have an honest discussion about the health of a team.

Then it’s time for a spring clean.

One of the problems with Australia and much of the world’s current way of working is that the office work day has been copied and pasted into a remote work environment, Price said.

Even Price, a workplace expert, took two months to figure out that teams should be working differently when they were fully remote.

In his team, that meant ensuring that they only scheduled meetings in the parts of the day when colleagues didn’t have childcare responsibilities.

More broadly, it meant having expectations around when colleagues would be available for meetings and the times of day when people would be sending and receiving emails.

Essentially, it’s not about the tools, technology, or even where the work is being done, Price said. It’s just about being reasonable.

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