You’re anxious. It’s Monday morning, your first day in the new job.

Your old boss went out on a limb for you by recommending you for the promotion to Team Leader of the Sales Support team. The reputation of this team is less than stellar and it’s your job to turn it around.

The anxiety comes from not really knowing the team members, so you don’t yet know what to expect. If you had some insight into each of them, you’d have a leg up on how to deal with the players individually, and together as a team.

As you approach the office you think, “What the heck,  I got this job because of my direct, take charge way of dealing with issues and getting results in a hurry. So that’s what I’ll do in this first meeting. This isn’t a popularity contest!”

You walk into your first session with the new team. You stride to the front of the room. “Welcome. I’m your new team leader. We’ve got a lot to cover this morning. This team is having problems and I’m here to fix them. So let’s get started.”

They Have To Listen To You – Don’t They?

Three hours later you’re frustrated. You only covered a portion of what you planned to, no one understood the urgency to fix these problems, and, in fact, the team bickered with each other over ridiculous issues.

On top of that, you got the impression they weren’t very happy with your appointment as leader. “Well”, you think, “They’d better get over that because I’m in charge and they have to follow my lead.”

This scenario is pretty common in organizations. For this team to come together with you as the leader, everyone – including you – must learn how to communicate with one another so that you can all be effective.

Dysfunctional Teams

In Patrick Lencioni’s New York Times best-selling book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, he addresses five of the most common challenges that prevent even the best people from succeeding as a team. These are:

  • Absence Of Trust
  • Fear Of Conflict
  • Lack Of Commitment
  • Inattention To Results
  • Avoidance Of Accountability

The first two, trust and conflict, are the direct result of bad or miscommunication. We can avoid conflict and misunderstandings by paying close attention to how those around us communicate. Communication can be verbal or non-verbal, in the form of body language. If you sense an imbalance, then adjust the way you’re communicating either verbally or physically.

How Do I Do That?

For example, if you sense that the person you are speaking to is nervous because you’re standing over them, then try sitting down. The key is to adjust your communication style according to the person or persons you are speaking with and the situation.

The difficulty is that not only are most people not aware of their own communication style and how they are perceived by others, but they are completely oblivious to the communication style of others.

What if you could determine another person’s communication style simply by observing them for a short time and then answering 8 questions about what you saw and heard?

What if the answers would allow you to adapt the speed at which you talk, the level of detail to go into, and the tone of voice you use so that your team members would be much more receptive to what you are saying?

That could accelerate your team’s effectiveness by mitigating or eliminating the trust and conflict issues you’re facing.

Wouldn’t that be the “leg up” you were looking for when you stepped into the meeting?