At the last Indianapolis “Leadership Rules!” meetup, we had some great discussions on celebrating wins and rethinking failures. I realized how infrequently my team actually celebrates our wins. We tend to hold off on celebrating while we work toward the end of the project, only to then just slide into our next project. When considering how my team handles failures, I recognized that my team doesn’t always acknowledge the lessons learned from any stumbling blocks we hit.
A retrospective activity to show gratitude and accomplishments
I was very fortunate at work to be managing a large, high-performing team. Despite team members being located across three continents, we all had a lot of fun, got along great, valued and respected each other, and got lots of stuff done! But, as the saying goes, all good things come to an end. My team was to split into two: half would be leaving to staff another high-priority project. The remainder would merge with another small team assigned to me to finish out our project.
I knew the activity of splitting up the team could be bittersweet and upsetting, so I wanted to do something in our final team meeting together that would allow us to leave with some great memories. I came up with a Team Achievement Award activity that worked really well for us. You can also do this activity with your team in a retrospective, when you want to recognize accomplishments, or to help with team bonding by getting folks to acknowledge the good things they see in other team members. Read more
As a leader, it’s imperative to assess what’s working and what’s not, both for you individually in your day-to-day job as well as in the teams you manage. Believe me, I know how difficult this is! We’re undertaking some massive initiatives at work with some pressing deadlines. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day running of a team and go on autopilot. For me, this is especially difficult when I’m feeling overwhelmed. When you feel like you’ve been thrown into the deep end and are struggling to stay afloat, it’s hard to pause and reflect on your approach. (I’m too busy swimming!) But, paradoxically, this is the most important time to take a step back and figure out whether there’s a better way to do things.