Visibility and vulnerability: The keys to an ambitious team

This week, we interviewed Hana Elliott, vice president of marketing at Ambition, about her well-aligned team. Hana shared the importance of visibility and vulnerability in a team and how it makes for a better team dynamic.

Tell us about your meeting rituals and cadence. “We have two in-person meetings per week and everyone knows what they bring to those meetings. That means that no one gets skipped and everyone gets a chance to be a part of the conversation. We also do a daily standup on slack which levels the playing field across communication preferences because everyone types their updates. If we need to continue the conversation offline, we do. Action: Think about the current methods in place for sharing updates amongst the team. While it may seem like in-person meetings or zoom check-in’s are working, ask the team if they’re useful to them. If not, ask for suggestions about how to make your team meeting cadence more effective for all team members. How do you manage team goals? “Every Monday we cover KPIs; this enables us to think through what work we need to prioritize for the upcoming week. Just defining the KPIs is the first step but assigning who is responsible for analyzing the KPI is vital; we want to be as transparent as possible with each other, our stakeholders, and the company."

Action: When creating team goals be sure to include measures too, so you know if you’ve achieved the goal or not. In the case of many people on the team being responsible for a goal, don’t forget to name someone to measure the goal and communicate the goal status to the team. How do you manage a team with different personalities or working styles? “I think half of the battle is knowing that people have different communication styles and motivations. When we completed our DISC personality profiles, everyone walked through their results so we could hear how they interpreted their findings. Having everyone hear it from the person themselves helped us communicate effectively and understand more about each other than even the report could give us.” Action: Consider completing a personality assessment (DISC, Myers Briggs, Strengths Finder, etc.) that allow your team members to better understand their own work style. Make sure each team member has the opportunity to share their results with the team. What has been your biggest struggle as a leader? “It can be hard to be vulnerable when you're always trying to prove yourself, especially as a woman in tech. Over the years, being vulnerable enough to say I don't know the right answer has been hard but doing so has opened up conversations we would have never had before -- with our team and with my leadership team. Action: Being vulnerable is hard. It is important for teams to see that their manager can be vulnerable before they feel safe to do so. Vulnerability is the most important way to start building trust on the team. Show your team that they can trust each other by being the first to be vulnerable. What is your greatest hope for your team? “It would be awesome if by the end of the year everyone has put in the work to make the next step in their career path a reality. It would be great because it means that they are enjoying their work and are motivated to achieve their goals.”

Action: Sit down with your team and make a “for the future” outline. Managers should ask team members to write out where they see themselves in one month, six months, and a year. Have each member talk through their goals, then outline what the team should prioritize to get everyone’s goals accomplished!

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