What do people think of your team? | Talent Development Insights

What do people think of your team? What’s their reputation within your organisation?

When I was a Learning & Development Director, one of my key objectives every year was to raise the profile of my team and department within the organisation. As part of the wider HR team, I had a number of internal customers and if my team was to be successful, their reputation in the eyes of our key stakeholders was critical.

A good reputation is hard to earn and easy to lose. And sadly reputations are not always based on reality. Your reputation and that of your team is the sum of those things that people consistently say about or associate with you. They will take the form of comments made about you by people who may never have met you.

After all I’m sure all of us have an opinion of the Prime Minister and the cabinet but how many of us have met any of them?

Your team’s reputation is created because of passing remarks. And people will make those remarks without your knowledge or involvement. Broadly, they will be unsolicited. But these words and phrases will have an impact.

Your team’s reputation will often appear before you do. If the team has a strong reputation or a bad reputation, then it will not only affect how people see you as a manager – it will also have an impact on the way that people respond to your team.

What do people think of your team? | Talent Development Insights

There are several reasons your team may have a particular reputation.

It could be because of:

  • A single powerful defining act – something the team has done or been involved in which sticks in the imagination
  • A particular way the team has of behaving
  • Particular things the team do or have done
  • A prominent way the team has of dressing, acting, speaking
  • Particular qualities associated with the team
  • The presence and charisma of you and your team members

Of course, it may be there is no association between your team and anything in particular. While people may know who they are, they may have no strong feelings about them either way.

In other words, your team may have no reputation at all.

It may also be that your team has not one but many reputations. For example, the team may have one reputation within your organisation, another with your boss and senior managers. It may have another still among clients.

Each will be a product of the way others see the team behave and how that meets the needs of that particular individual or group.

In other words people’s judgements of your team are going to be influenced by what’s important to them.  What they value.

So what reputation does your team have among people whose opinion matters?

One way of finding out is to carry out a 360 degree feedback exercise for your team, with each team member getting their own report that they can use for their own development as well as an overview of the group results that will outline general perceptions around strengths and areas for development.

Why 360 degree feedback can be a very useful tool

Alternatively, you can do an informal survey. You can either do it yourself or you can find someone you trust to carry it out for you. Essentially you want to find out the answers to the following questions:

  • Do people know who your team are?
  • Do people know what your team do?
  • What do they associate with your team?
  • What words would they use to describe your team?
  • Why do they see your team as they do?
  • When they think of your team or hear the name of your team or department, what ideas and thoughts jump into their minds?

Once you know how others see you and your team, you can find out whether the promise you make (i.e. your team’s brand) is what people experience (i.e. your team’s reputation) and if not, you can decide on ways to close the gap.

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