The arrival of the new financial year brings new budgets and, depending on the performance of your company, can provide opportunities to invest or a reason to tighten the purse strings. Either way, there is one thing that you should invest in – ensuring that your leaders create a healthy company and team climate.
We define climate as the way in which members of an organisation experience the culture of an organisation – simply put, climate is the ‘mood’. Climate is predominantly the result of a leader’s behaviour towards their team and is a significant contributor to overall team performance. In order for a business to perform effectively, leaders should work to encourage a ‘positive mood’.
A leader can have a positive or detrimental impact on climate and therefore the performance of a team. When hiring leaders or looking to develop their skills, you should consider the following to ensure a healthy climate:
- Goals: Strong leadership and direction is vital. A good leader will be able to explain the purpose of a team and its impact on the wider organisation. Simply put, they will be able to answer, ‘what are we here to do’ and ‘why’, ensuring that all members of the team are aware too. Unclear vision, a lack of goal clarity or conflicting goals within a team is the most common cause of underperformance.
- Roles: In high performance teams each member fully understands their own role and responsibilities. In order to ensure Team Balance, a leader should also ensure that there is a necessary balance of skills across the team so that gaps can be filled when necessary – role conflict is the primary cause of competing behaviours in a team. Teams with a healthy climate feel that they have the right support and structure to deliver on their goals.
- Processes: Every team will have its own way of working, however, how do you ensure that these processes are standardised, understood, effective and efficient? Both internally and externally, communication is key to ensuring an effective team. Furthermore, when a team is effective, performance development is vital – how is performance recognised, monitored and measured?
- Adaptability: Teams must be agile and flexible to meet the demands of the ever-changing workplace. How a leader manages changing objectives, role changes and restructures will directly impact the climate of a team. A strong leader will create an open climate by demonstrating an openness to change and listen to innovative ideas of their team.
- Connection: A team with a healthy climate will have a strong connection, driving performance through a collaborative approach to success. Effective leaders will reward and recognise team members for their contribution.
- Resilience: Stress and pressure are unavoidable in the working world; however, they can be unintentionally increased by the expectations of a leader. In order to create a healthy working climate, a leader will ensure that the workload of the team is manageable and there is sufficient time to rest and provide a healthy balance.
In order for a company to have a healthy climate, a leader’s approach to each of these factors needs to be considered and consistent – any gaps or confusion will lead to misalignment between leaders and their teams.
The influence that these factors have on your company climate and, in turn, your employees will directly impact your bottom line – A study from the University of Warwick revealed that happy people at work are 12% more productive than unhappy people. If the leaders within your business create an unhealthy climate, employee engagement levels will drop, leading to:
- High staff churn
- A reduction in the quality or quantity of employee work
- A shared lack of respect/poor opinion of the company
If your company is looking to improve its climate this financial year, the Performance Climate System can help. Based on over 30 years of research into high performance teams, our tool measures and diagnoses team climate, identifies gaps in perception between leaders and teams, offering corrective suggestions where misalignment may have occurred.
We are currently working with a UK based telemarketing client, an industry notorious for poor company climate and high staff attrition rates. They came to PCS looking to improve their company climate, as both climate and culture where a vital part of the business’ ethos. Three years later they have been voted the regions fastest growing business and been nominated as finalists for the Amazon Growing Business awards – you can view their case study here.