Updated: May 3, 2021
Gaps are not problems. They don't require "fixing," only addressing. Sometimes, this is hard for leaders to get their heads wrapped around.
A gap is the space that separates us, the distance we must travel to make a real connection with other people.
Gaps affect every person in every corner of an organization, sometimes in good ways, other times in not so good ways. In every case, a gap is an opportunity to bring people (your team) closer together.
Oftentimes, leaders don’t realize a gap is there. Until they do. And that’s when increased care, collaboration and connection are in the greatest need. Those three standards need to be initiated and modeled exclusively by the leader.
Here are a few of the warning signs that separation (gaps) may exist in your organization:
Silence: You might not be able to measure this but you surely can sense it...if you pay attention. When people aren’t talking, there is separation. Sometimes quiet is a good thing. Your workplace shouldn’t sound like school playground at recess, but it shouldn’t be as quiet as a library either.
Misunderstandings: When misunderstandings emerge regarding key aspects of the organization - values, staff support, expectations, customer support, or basic operating guidelines - it’s a warning sign that communications (the how, what, when & why’s) within the organization needs fine-tuning.
The Same Questions and Concerns are Repeatedly Expressed: Leaders will notice this trend if they remain vigilant for the warning signs (aka being aware). Once you connect the dots and recognize a consistent theme emerging, take action. Connect and converse with your team.
No One Appears Happy (No Smiles or Laughs): There is an energy that can be felt in every organization. Your first sense it in the way employees carry themselves. Do they appear comfortable, at ease? Or are they tense or jumpy? An outsider will sense this tension right away. You might not. You may be too close to it. Employees learn to endure tension until they find someplace better or become they simply become a corporate zombie.
Simple Follow-ups Are Missed: Leaders, if they’re aware, will notice little inconsistencies that occur, like phone calls not returned or routine milestones getting missed. Typically, it doesn’t happen to them directly but they hear about incidents from customers or other employees.
Little or No Communication: Silence speaks volumes here. When important subjects such as team successes, organizational priorities or a commitment to excellence are barely discussed or recognized, it’s a sure sign that a separation (or gap) exists within the team.
Absence of Vital Energy (AoVE): When things like enthusiasm, gratefulness, helpfulness, or collaboration are in short supply, something’s amiss. We’ve all seen stress-filled organizations, who deal with life and death situations every day, have no trouble showing clear signs of enthusiasm or collaboration on their team. It can happen.
When two or more of the above signs are in evidence, it’s time for the leader to quickly assess the situation and respond proactively.
Assessment Corps tools provide timely and actionable information that equip leaders with a snapshot of what their team is seeing. You can see those tools here: www.AssessmentCorps.com
“We were talking about the space between us all…”
- George Harrison/Within You Without You