Category Archives: Teamwork

Improving Management Team Performance

“Ultimately, leadership is not about glorious crowning acts. It’s about keeping your team focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it, especially when the stakes are high and the consequences really matter. It is about laying the groundwork for others’ success, and then standing back and letting them shine.” —Chris Hadfield

The key to improving management team performance is summarized quite nicely in the Chris Hadfield quote above. When your management team can lay the groundwork for their employees to succeed and then stand back and let them shine, the whole organization performs better. So, what should you be looking at to improve the performance of your management team?

What is their focus?

What are your managers focusing on? It can be easy for them to get caught up in focusing solely on the bottom line and forget about the employees who are contributing to that bottom line. Or, they can become so concerned with gaining recognition for themselves that they forget about the people who are really doing the work. The best management teams focus on the ‘what’ and the ‘who’. When management spends their energy on supporting their employees in determining the ‘how’ for themselves, performance improves at every level of the organization.

How are their relationships?

What kind of relationships are your managers developing? Relationships are built on mutual trust and respect; they cannot thrive in an us vs. them environment. Without strong relationships managers are ineffective. If you want to improve the performance of your management team, help them build strong, trusting, inclusive relationships.

How do they accomplish objectives?

How do your managers accomplish the objectives that you have set for them? Many managers defer to micromanagement as a means for accomplishing tasks and achieving goals. Micromanagement kills employee engagement and does more harm to productivity than good. When you put an end to micromanagement and empower employees to make decisions and take action on their own you greatly improve performance.

As Your Management Team Performs

As your management team performs, so will their employees. Make sure your managers are focusing on the right things. Help them build the relationships that lead to efficiency and top performance. Teach them to empower and support employees in accomplishing objectives rather than micromanaging them. When your management team provides the foundation employees need to succeed and can then stand back and lets employees shine, everyone’s performance improves.

What action will you take today to start improving the performance of your management team?



© 2017 Elizabeth Stincelli


Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations change attitudes, change communication dynamics, improve collaboration and problem-solving, engage employees, and strengthen organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at


Tapping into the Collective Energy of Your Team

Row of electricity pylons (1)“If we all collectively generate good energy, there will be a good outcome.” —Shari Arison

 By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM


No one succeeds alone. When teams come together, truly working together, sharing their skills and passion, in pursuit of a shared objective their collective energy creates results far beyond the ability of individuals working separately. As leaders, it is our responsibility to get our ego, pride, and hidden agendas out of the way so that we can build and inspire our team to create good, collective energy. So, once you’ve set aside your behaviors that inhibit collective energy, how can you then tap into this energy in your team?

Feed their passion

We all want to find meaning in our work, to make a valuable contribution to something important. People find energy in their passions, this energy is compounded when you identify and feed the passion of your team. Give them something to believe in; something worth collaborating for, something worth giving their all for and you will tap into the collective energy of your team.

Tap into their experience

Everyone has something unique to offer. People want to be challenged and given the opportunity to use their specific skills and knowledge to meet the demands of those challenges. When you tap into the experience of individual team members while bringing them together in pursuit of a shared goal, you are tapping into the collective energy of your team.

Show them respect

What do your employees desire more than anything else? They want to be valued and respected. When you show respect for your employees, you show them that you have confidence in their abilities, that you value their contributions, and that you trust their judgment. If you want to tap into the collective energy of your teams, you must show them respect on both and individual and a team level.

Share the leadership

A team is not a hierarchical machine; it is a living organism where roles and leadership are in a constant state of flux. An employee with a great attitude might serve best as the leader when the team becomes frustrated. Other employees may lead at different times based on the requirements of the current task. Another employee might have the organization and planning skills necessary to lead the initial planning process. You will tap into the collective energy of your team when you allow leaders to emerge naturally when their strengths meet the immediate needs of the team.

Tap into Your Team’s Collective Energy

As a leader, it is your responsibility to make sure your team is working well together. The most successful leaders tap into the collective energy of their teams and create environments where everyone feels engaged and valued. Each team member is an expert in something; they each serve an important purpose. Feed their passion. Tap into their experience. Show them respect. And, share the leadership. When a team brings their collective energy together and focuses on a shared objective, the results of the team will by far surpass the potential of each individual working alone.


© 2016 Elizabeth Stincelli


Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at

Not an Army of One



“As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people’s ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.” —Amy Poehler

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM


Are You Going it Alone?

It’s easy to think that you will be better off if you just do everything yourself. Many times it is fear that prevents you from asking for help. You may fear that you will give more than you get, or that you will share more about yourself than you would like. You may fear having to share your success with someone else. The problem is, you can’t possibly know everything or see situations from every angle. The more you learn, the more you realize there is so much you don’t know. Helen Keller said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” You are limiting your chance of success when you insist on going it alone. So where should you start?

 Great ideas

Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “I welcome and seek your ideas, but do not bring me small ideas; bring me big ideas to match our future.” The best ideas come from sharing and combining ideas from a diverse, variety of sources. Use technology to access the information and expertise you need from individuals from around the world. Develop a supportive atmosphere that encourages the sharing of ideas without fear of judgment. Ask the question “what if?”. Give everyone the chance to share; you never know where the next great idea will come from.


Build relationships. Joyce Meyer explained, “We can improve our relationships with others by leaps and bounds if we become encouragers instead of critics.” Much of your success is dependent on developing strong, authentic relationships. Get to know those you work with on a personal basis. Always be forthcoming and respectful in your interactions. Use the relationships you develop to foster the spirit of cooperation, encouragement, and support that leads uncovering great ideas.


Antony Starr told us, “Collaboration is the best way to work. It’s the only way to work, really. Everyone’s there because they have a set of skills to offer across the board.” Without collaboration, you can get stuck. You need skills and expertise beyond your own to continue to move forward. You have experts from around the world accessible right at your fingertips. The sky is the limit when you learn how to connect and collaborate with others. This collaboration is not about competing against each other, but innovating together to co-create something far beyond your individual capabilities. Identify a need, and then focus on who you need to help you find a solution.

Common ground

Improve your ability to collaborate successfully by finding common ground. Madeleine Albright recognized, “No matter what message you are about to deliver somewhere, whether it is holding out a hand of friendship, or making clear that you disapprove of something, is the fact that the person sitting across the table is a human being, so the goal is to always establish common ground.” People want to work with other people who they know and feel comfortable with. Find commonalities between you and your team members. Collaboration is not self-serving; think about the well-being of the whole not just the few. Create a shared vision where everyone wins. Finding common ground helps you break down interpersonal barriers and reduce the fears that prevent collaboration and block creativity. Learn to embrace the diversity that builds a strong team and encourages the discovery of great ideas.

Not an Army of One

Stephen Covey reminded us, “Synergy is what happens when one plus one equals ten, or a hundred, or even a thousand! It’s the profound result when two or more respectful human beings determine to go beyond their preconceived ideas to meet a great challenge.” Great challenges require great partnering. There is extraordinary power in people working together toward the same goal. Use diverse perspectives to change the way you view the need and the goal. Develop relationships with others; find common ground where you can share your expertise for mutual benefit and discover great ideas together. You never know where the next great idea might be found. You are not an army of one; build a network of experts to share in your exploration new ideas and great possibilities.




© 2014 Elizabeth Stincelli


Elizabeth Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Elizabeth holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Elizabeth by visiting her website, and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at



Let’s Collaborate


Let’s Collaborate

“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples, then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” —George Bernard Shaw

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM



Collaboration brings us together to work towards a shared objective. If we can collaborate effectively we increase our chances for success. Collaborating with others offers us the opportunity to be part of something larger than ourselves.

We can achieve more together than the sum of what we can achieve individually. Successful collaboration creates win-win situations where all parties benefit. People are most productive and satisfied at work when they feel supported, rewarded, and aligned with the work they are doing. Effective collaboration puts the right people in right roles and provides them with the voice, support, and encouragement needed to be successful. Here are a few factors impact your odds of collaborating successfully.


The culture of your organization will either foster or destroy collaboration. The culture should promote the attitude that there is always something new to be discovered. You never know where the next great idea will come from. A healthy culture encourages employees to ask questions. It challenges employees to wonder what might be possible if we work together. Collaboration helps us to feel energized and connected as we work in a team environment. Develop a culture that engages employees to participate in collaboration without competing with each other. Encourage the development of the authentic connections between colleagues that builds a sense of community. Promote a culture that encourages and rewards collaboration and advances a shared vision to guide collaborative efforts.


Successful collaboration is dependent on building strong, authentic relationships. These relationships allow us to influence and inspire others. Get to know colleagues on a personal basis. Always treat each other with respect. Use your relationships to develop a spirit of cooperation and offer encouragement and support.


Communication connects us with others and is a key factor in effective collaboration. Communication should always be respectful. In a collaborative environment people should be given a voice to express themselves in a constructive manner. Encourage others to ask questions and challenge the status quo. Clearly communicate shared goals and objectives. Resolve disagreements quickly and in a respectful manner. And, remember to express appreciation for the contributions of team members.


Trust is an important component of any successful collaboration. The collaborative environment must reduce the fear of judgment that hinders participation and productivity. Develop an atmosphere that encourages others to share ideas in a safe and respectful environment. Show compassion for colleagues. Set an example of how to treat others and how to work together effectively. Treat colleagues as equals. Develop a code of conduct so that situations are handled consistently and fair.


To collaborate effectively the team should focus on cooperation and developing connections between members. Every participant should be encouraged to bring the best of themselves to the table. To be successful, teams should focus their energy on outcomes not problems. Create a Collaborative environment with shared objectives that focus on what’s best for the organization as a whole.


You must build collaboration into the culture of your organization. The culture should empower individuals to work together to accomplish more than would be possible if they were working alone. A positive, collaborative environment encourages team members to share opinions and ideas, promotes cooperation, and develops strategic partnerships.

When we work together we can accomplish more that we ever could working individually. When we join forces we all win. Now, everyone, roll up your sleeves and let’s collaborate.


© 2014 Elizabeth Stincelli


Building Your Team


Building Your Team

“Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.” —Mattie Stepanek

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM


In order for a team to successfully achieve their goals, team members must be willing and able to share knowledge, experience, and skills in the coordination and completion of the work at hand.

        Building Your Team

So you have a project to accomplish. You are given a team with which to work. The question now becomes, how do you build your team so that, as a whole, you are successful? Here are a few areas that can impact the level of success your team achieves.


Working as a team towards shared goals requires collaboration. Collaboration must be built into the very culture of the organization. A culture where individuals are empowered to work together to accomplish more than would be possible when working individually. Collaboration provides a real sense of community. Successful collaboration requires clearly identified objectives and boundaries. Then, engaged employees should be allowed to operate freely within those boundaries. The most effective collaborative environments encourage team members to voice different perspectives, foster a spirit of cooperation, and develop strategic partnerships.


Cohesion provides team unity as a whole. Cohesion requires a sense of community and a shared vision to work towards. Create a team with the right mix of members where everyone serves in the roles that best fit their strengths. Team members should learn to empathize with each other. Members should be willing to share their knowledge and previous experiences to help others. Successful teams communicate and learn from each other.


Show that you admire the abilities and accomplishments of team members. Treat everyone with respect.  Develop mutual trust within the team. Respect your colleague’s ability to do their job. Remember that everyone has something to contribute. Bear in mind that the team succeeds or fails as a whole.


Give assistance and never leave anyone behind. Each team member must roll-up their sleeves and contribute to the work to be done. Make sure the team has the resources they need to achieve their goals. Help team members keep their eyes on what is really important. Develop a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities and then support each other in those roles. Act as a mentor or advisor to those members who need additional guidance.


How well we work together as a team determines our success or failure at achieving our desired results. You cannot sit idly by and expect your team to succeed. Make a conscious effort and focus your energies on building your team.

© 2014 Elizabeth Stincelli

Six Ways to Enhance Organizational Structure- with co-author Doug Dickerson


Six Ways to Enhance Organizational Structure

The productivity of a work group seems to depend on how the group members see their own goals in relation to the goals of the organization. – Ken Blanchard

When was the last time you took a hard look at the effectiveness of your organizational structure? While most organizations have one, do the people in your organization know it or understand it? The time may be ripe for you to take a fresh look at yours and consider these six ways to enhance it.

Empower your leaders

Regardless of what your present organizational structure looks like its functionality should empower its leaders. Successful leaders thrive in an organizational structure that fosters creativity, unleashes potential, and doesn’t stifle progress. This happens when less emphasis is placed on hierarchical structure and more emphasis is placed on empowering the right people in the right places. Empowerment elevates the performance of leaders and encourages behavior that earns the respect of followers. This respect allows leaders to build partnerships within the organization that encourage open, two-way communication and foster a sense of loyalty.

Give ownership

Ownership occurs within your organizational structure when there is buy-in from the bottom up and system wide. If ownership is not shared then the structure is self-serving and not empowering. People want ownership and sense of belonging to a great cause. Without ownership that can’t happen. Ownership holds everyone on the team accountable for their decisions and actions. In order for employees to take successful ownership of their work they must clearly understand expectations. They must also have milestones where progress is evaluated. Ensure that employees are serving in the right roles, give ownership, and celebrate their victories.

Expand borders

Organizational structures don’t define you, you define them. As such, your organizational structure should not be a document of containment but a blueprint of open boundaries to grow and succeed. It should not box people in but should free them to do what they do best. As your organization grows so should your structure but in a way that facilities your growth and not in ways that impede it. Provide employees with the opportunity to be more flexible about how, when, where, and with whom the work gets done. Employees want to be involved in designing and managing their work tasks. Offer employees choices and the ability to personalize work. Allow employees to share ideas and be involved in the implementation of these ideas. As you expand your borders, provide opportunities for employee growth and focus your energies on the results that really matter.

Think lateral

Employees need to have a level of control over their work tasks. A top-down organizational structure hinders the ability of decision-making at the lowest level possible. Decision making on the front-lines allows issues to be identified and addressed quickly. In a lateral structure, employees understand where they fit and how they impact the success of the organization. A flat organizational structure allows employees at all levels of the organization to be empowered and given autonomy over their work. This less rigid structure allows for flexibility and promotes a feeling of equality and inclusiveness. When lateral thinking is put into action it allows for swifter response times that can translate into happier customers, gratified clients, and a healthy bottom line. Lateral thinking is empowering, efficient, and very effective.

Build trust

The support needed to successfully achieve organizational goals is gained by developing relationships based on trust and commitment. The organizational structure can enhance or impede factors such as open communication, management follow-through, accountability, consistency, and concern for employee interests all of which foster a sense of trust. Therefore, building trust is a deliberate action, not something left to chance. It happens as relationships are given priority, it grows in an atmosphere of community, and it pays huge dividends when everyone is engaged. Without trust you have nothing. With it your potential is unlimited.

Find common ground

Employees prefer to work with others they see as similar to themselves. When the organizational structure provides an inclusive environment with common goals a sense of community is developed. Finding common ground helps in the successful pursuit of these shared goals. The organization must foster a shared purpose so that employees understand why the organization exists and why they do what they do. Finding common ground is a fundamental condition of your success. You need to define, share it, but most of all; your team needs to own it. Common ground is your path forward.

Does your organizational structure support the goals you trying to reach? The continued success of your organization is dependent on your ability to continually evaluate and enhance your organizational structure. You can enhance your effectiveness by taking these steps to ensure that your organization is ready to succeed in the 21st century.


Doug Dickerson is an internationally recognized leadership speaker and columnist. He is the author of two leadership books. He is the director of Management Moment Leadership Services. To learn more visit

Elizabeth Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational structure. Elizabeth holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership. Learn more about Elizabeth by visiting her website,




Stifling Employee Engagement


Stifling Employee Engagement

“When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.” — Simon Sinek

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM

Employee Engagement

Employees want to be challenged, to have control over their work tasks, and have the opportunity to continue increasing their knowledge and skill set. When employees feel fully engaged they become emotionally committed to working hard in the best interest of the organization.

Are You Stifling Employee Engagement?

Do the employees throughout your organization know that they share in the success of the organization? If you want your employees to do more than just show up to work, you must consciously develop a culture that engages them in their work and shows appreciation for the contributions they make to the success of the organization. Watch out for these management behaviors that stifle employee engagement.

Unsupportive culture

Corporate culture affects performance and contributes to the social control that influences the way employees behave and make decisions. Culture bonds individuals together on a social level to make them feel included in the experience of the organization. Engagement must become part of the culture. When employees enjoy their work and the environment they work in they are more loyal, innovative, provide better customer service, and strive to continually improve the organization.

Out-dated view of work

In the early 20th century, Fredrick Taylor pioneered scientific management. This form of management focused on production and breaking projects into tasks. Employees could then be trained to specialize in a specific task. Taylor emphasized efficiency, control, and predictability. This view of leadership treated employees like instruments that leaders could manipulate. The focus of leadership was on the needs of the organization and not those of employees.

Times have changed; as employees become more educated and skilled, their desire to participate in the leadership and decision-making process increases. High performing employees expect the opportunity to participate and be independent. Your employees are the core of your product or service. They should find their work to be fulfilling and meaningful. If you want your employees to be engaged in their work, you should reevaluate and make adjustments to how you view work.

Lack of investment

Employee engagement requires the investment of resources to continually develop employee knowledge and skills. Talented employees want to continuously improve themselves. As a leader, you must focus on their development and offer them meaningful opportunities to contribute to the organization.

Lack of commitment

A culturethat supports employee engagement requires full commitment from management since that’s where the responsibility for employee engagement falls.Spend time helping employees succeed. Make sure you, as a leader, and your employees are committed to the right things.

Lack of inspiration

When employees do not feel inspired by those who lead them they will not be fully engaged in the organization. Employees are motivated by shared trust, values, and purpose. By developing and maintaining trusting relationships you can inspire individuals to collaborate, share knowledge, and contribute to the development of new organizational knowledge. Let employees know, through your words and actions, why they should work for you. Be a source of inspiration.


Employee engagement is dependent on commitment from management, a supportive culture, training, and empowerment. Provide employees with the knowledge and skills that will allow them to deliver a value that exceeds expectations. Remember that employees who are emotionally committed to the organization want to contribute. Give them the tools and opportunities to make the meaningful contributions that benefit them on and individual level and the organization as a whole.

© 2014 Elizabeth Stincelli

Organizational Culture Stumbling Blocks


Organizational Culture Stumbling Blocks

“Even those who fancy themselves the most progressive will fight against other kinds of progress, for each of us is convinced that our way is the best way.”— Louis L’Amour

 By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM


         A Healthy Culture

The culture of our organization serves as the foundation with which we build all other structures that allow us to accomplish our organizational objectives. A healthy culture is the result of continuous evaluation and development. As we work towards improving our organizational culture, we often encounter stumbling blocks. These stumbling blocks result in lost time and frustration. But, if we can recognize them, we can overcome them.

       Stumbling Blocks

While the list is many, here are a few of the stumbling blocks that can affect our ability to improve the culture of organization.

               Lack of trust

Lack of trust in the boss does not necessarily mean loss of trust. If you have lost the trust of your employees, struggling to improve your organizational culture is only one of your many problems. If your employees do not trust you, they will not follow you. Lack of trust, on the other hand, often stems from the perception that you are unable to identify with the issues of your employees at their level. Employees are leery of supporting initiatives that have been designed from a top-down perspective. Get out on the floor, talk to your employees, roll-up your sleeves and work with them. See the world from their point-of-view. When employees trust that you are setting the cultural GPS based on the view from their level they are far more likely to give you their full support.

                “It’s not my job”

The “it’s not my job” mentality can become like a contagious disease once it sets in, spreading through your organization like wildfire. This type of attitude prevents the development of a cohesive, supportive, helpful, encouraging work environment. This negative environment is not conducive to any type of positive cultural growth. Our organizations benefit when we have an adaptable, flexible workforce. As leaders, we need to educate our employees on the benefits of developing new skills, gaining new knowledge, and sharing our skills and knowledge with others. We must set clear expectations and then empower employees to take ownership for their work. The change in mindset will do wonders for your company’s culture.

                       Lack of empowerment

Employees who are not empowered feel that they have little or no control over their own work. This results in lack of engagement and low morale both of which will have a negative impact on organizational culture. By empowering employees, we provide them with discretion and independence over their work, a belief that their work is important and has meaning, that they are seen as competent to perform well, that they are active participants, and their actions and decisions matter. Empowering employees requires us, as leaders, to trust our employees and to take the risk of allowing those employees to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. Empowered employees are more optimistic about the contributions that they can make to the organization. Their optimism is contagious and that is always good for organizational culture.                

                Negative internal politics

Negative internal politics result in distrust and fear. Anytime your employees feel they have to question the motives, words, or actions of upper management you are going to struggle to get anything accomplished. The best solution to this problem is authenticity and communication.


These stumbling blocks hinder our ability to develop and maintain an organizational culture that supports the vision and goals necessary in a business environment where innovation and agility are key factors to success. These same stumbling blocks affect many other aspects of leadership. Over the next few weeks we will look at other facets of our organizations and some of the other obstacles we encounter.