Uplevel (verb): Inspired strategic action creating greater capabilities
Successful teams and companies are entering into the New Year with a focus and commitment to upleveling their organization. In 2023 it will be critical to develop our leaders, invest in our teams, and refine our company cultures in order to achieve the next level of potential.
Whether you lead one person or one hundred, knowing how to uplevel a team is going to be critical for leadership in the next twenty-four months. With an uncharted path in front of us all, each leader and team will be required to uplevel communication, meetings, delegation, strategy, and most importantly, their people—the anchors of a successful team.
Every industry is experiencing change; some growth, some transition, some challenge, and keeping up requires a renewed commitment to leveling up. As companies grow and promote or hire more experienced team members, it is important to invest in their continued development. With the current pace of change, it is imperative to:
Invest in your team to help them reach the next level
Think ahead about the skills your leaders need, not just in the next few weeks or months, but in the years ahead
Future-proof your company culture to navigate the changing environment
Uplevel Your Leadership Competencies
Often, it takes a fresh perspective to identify what is not working in an organization and where improvements could be made. It is easy to become so invested in the organizational culture, that you may not see inefficiencies or opportunities to enhance the effectiveness of your leaders.
Care for your pack.
When you find people who do great work and embody your brand, take good care of them. Empower them with the tools to be successful, challenge them to continue learning, and keep them close. These rising leaders are the ones who will uplevel the growth of your organization.
Screen for self-sufficiency.
You need leaders who take ownership of their role from beginning to end: proactively brainstorm new ideas, craft plans to move forward, search for what they need, and take responsibility if the project goes off the rails.
Keep an eye on their orbit.
It is important to periodically review the people in your executive orbit—your internal team, as well as freelancers and agencies—to see how they are performing.
Uplevel Your Team Effectiveness
Team alignment, trust, and shared ownership will be more critical than ever in 2023. As many teams have established hybrid and remote work expectations, it is time to co-author the elements of this new high-performing team structure. Helping teams define the anchors of communication, meetings, delegation, and strategy will be imperative to their success. By creating opportunities for buy-in and alignment in the process, leaders will not only drive their commitments but also cascade them down into the rest of the organization.
Safety cultivates trust.
When team members feel they can ask, question, try, and even fail without fear of penalties, they flourish. When personal and psychological safety are protected, people can focus on what makes them great at their jobs. Managers need to cultivate this kind of safety in their teams, especially when it means standing up to corporate roadblocks, customer demands, and management constraints that may be unreasonable.
Connection creates value.
Teams that demonstrate behaviors like self-awareness, humility, trust, and empathy are more engaged with one another as well as more effective at building strong connections. Connection reinforces value which fosters a more supportive work environment.
Accountability equals credibility.
Credibility is every leader’s greatest capital, and it takes time to bank enough to build trust, gain respect, and eliminate fear. Performance standards and expectations need to be clear and applied equally to each team member. Nothing will destroy your personal credibility and team culture faster than a failure to do so.
Uplevel Your Organizational Culture
Upleveling your culture requires committing to a set of intentional changes. The smallest shifts can create the most powerful pivots that will help you continuously evolve your culture. Company culture will continue to be one of the most important assets to your success.
Provide clarity to create purpose.
It is critical to clearly define roles, responsibilities, and scope of work, including who has what authority. Not only does this provide clarity among the team and instill a stronger sense of ownership, it also spells out the team’s purpose within the larger organization. Giving people a mechanism to push back on objectives that do not align with big-picture goals also helps empower people to do the best job possible and avoid unproductive work.
Address toxicity by changing behaviors.
If you find you have walked into a situation where there is a long history of distrust—toxic behavior like throwing one another under the bus—focus on ways to rebuild the team culture into something more positive, one of trust and transparency. This may involve working with an external facilitator to help distrustful teammates overcome their baggage with one another.
Combat complacency with coaching culture.
It is not uncommon for employees to become complacent in their skill set development. If they have been in the same position for a few years and have been doing the same job the same way the entire time, chances are they are not on-trend. This can be easily addressed through training, coaching, and investment in company culture.