Redirecting a Lost Team

redirectingyourteamWhether it’s a project that’s taken an unexpected turn or employees who’ve lost their focus, leaders have the power to redirect a wayward team. Following a few simple guidelines will help managers remove distractions and regain employees’ focus.

Create a vision. Sometimes all it takes to get a team back on course is ensuring everyone knows where you’re headed. According to, an organization’s vision is simply a picture of what success will look like when it’s achieved. If your team is struggling to stay on point, they may need a better idea of what they’re working toward each day.

Whether it’s laying out the agenda for an hour-long staff meeting or sharing the department goals for the next quarter, giving employees a glimpse of the big picture enables them to successfully reach their intended destination.

Generate buy-in. Knowing the “what” isn’t always enough. Examining the strategy behind a task has the added benefit of allowing you to re-evaluate whether a project is really worthwhile. Sharing that strategy with employees will help them to understand the “why” behind a goal as well. When employees understand how their duties pay off in the long run, they’ll be more focused and motivated.

In a case study by Gallup, a Dallas-area hotel branch was struggling to become profitable. Corporate brought in a new manager to help turn the hotel around. The new manager soon discovered that employees were more focused on processes than outcomes. Customer service suffered because employees didn’t know what they were working toward. When the employees clearly understood their ultimate goals, they delivered better service, and the hotel’s profits soared.

Equip the team. Sometimes, teams are derailed because they don’t have the necessary tools or training to succeed. Prevent this mishap by allowing employees to tell you what they need. Set your team up to win by offering them plenty of support.

When employees let you know they need help, respond quickly – otherwise your words of concern will appear hollow. Your responsiveness will allow you to tackle issues before they become major setbacks.

Execute the plan. Preparation is vital, but without execution, it doesn’t amount to much. Once you’ve developed your strategy and prepared your team, it’s time to get down to business. Don’t allow yourself or your team to get caught up in tasks that don’t relate to the big picture.

Each day, opportunities will arise that sound enticing but aren’t related to the team’s mission. Spending time on those projects will only distract your team from its real mission. Instead, push forward on key tasks, and keep team members accountable for making progress on designated goals.

Evaluate along the way. To keep up the momentum, set aside time to review the team’s progress. To avoid micromanaging, keep in mind there’s a difference between supporting your team and controlling them. Employees appreciate managers who stay in the loop to ensure their success.

Recognize individual and group victories along the way. Address problems quickly to keep them from becoming larger issues. Your team is counting on you to help them stay focused, so make sure you keep your head in the game.

In today’s busy workplace, it’s easy to lose sight of what really needs to be accomplished. To stay on track, know where you want to end up, and ensure your team understands this vision as well. When you equip your employees to execute their goals, you’ll find everyone is more focused on achieving success.

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