Yes! You have been chosen to be a Team Leader! Now What?
Recent research in The Effectiveness of Teamwork Training on Teamwork Behaviors and Team Performance by Desmond McEwan Geralyn R. Ruissen,Mark A. Eys, Bruno D. Zumbo,
And Mark R. Beauchamp reported these general findings.
From road construction crews and professional soccer squads to political parties and special operations corps, teams have become a ubiquitous part of today’s world. Bringing a group of highly-skilled individuals together is not sufficient for teams to be effective. Rather, team members need to be able to work well together in order for the team to successfully achieve its purposes
What is Teamwork?
What is commonly called teamwork has two basic functions. One is the responsibility and execution of tasks, the team technician role, the other is the responsibiity and execution of collaboration and communication of the team member role. Combining these results in what we look at team performance
In the world of business nearly all work is done in teams. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you most of the teams they’ve been on are average or mediocre, or good but not great. However, some have experienced an extraordinary team –the kind that makes a lasting impact and sets the bar for what greatness looks and feels like. And sadly, many can tell you in detail about the toxic teams they were on where gossip, sabotage, and finger-pointing was the norm. They too made a lasting impact – a very negative one.
In my roles within organizational change and leadership, I have had many opportunites to research, implement, and evaluate team performance. I do have several excellent recommendations on effective team development for success. But, lets say, you are given a team and you are assigned to be the TEAM Leader. In my experience this is often the case from classrooms to boardrooms. If you want to create and maintain a high-performing team that delivers results, focus on the following eight steps and consider making them team agreements. Often the communication you start out with is what you will also end up with!
ProActive Strategies for Team Effectiveness
Please read to the end. I offer a collaborative and fun team building activity, using these proven eight strategies to kick start any team and set it up for success.
1. Trust your teammates unconditionally.
On loyal teams, team members extend trust to one another without demanding that anyone prove their loyalty. They trust each other through the good times and the bad. Start by asking everyone on the team to address any lingering trust issues with other team members.
2. Assume positive intent. Always.
Loyal team members give each other the benefit of the doubt. They check their own judgments and set aside their assumptions about each other’s motivations or intent. If one member can’t understand another member’s behavior, they talk with that person directly instead of making assumptions or gripping to someone else.
3. Talk WITH your teammates, not about them.
Loyal team members discuss challenges directly. They don’t engage in gossip and instead choose to work out differences in a respectful and timely manner. Every member demonstrates loyalty to all the other team members. To start, ask your team to address issues directly with each other as they arise.
4. Care about your teammates’ success, and most of them will care about yours.
Loyal team members take the time to support each other. They step in when there is a problem or challenge that someone can’t solve on their own. Each person makes personal sacrifices to help others and gives candid guidance to help a teammate learn and grow. Start by taking an interest in your teammates’ success. Ask questions about their concerns and be a good listener.
5. Put the team’s agenda ahead of your own, take a power pause to reflect.
Loyal team members sacrifice resources and personal recognition to ensure the team can reach the most important goals. Everyone keeps his or her ego in check and focuses on a broader view of goals so the entire team can see how each part fits into the greater whole. Start by clarifying the shared goals with everyone on the team.
6. Encourage and hold your teammates accountable to do their best work and vice versa.
Loyal team members challenge each other to reach shared goals. No one wants to let a teammate down, so they work harder and try more. Loyalists don’t spend energy watching their own backs, so they can take risks and reach higher. Start by asking your teammates to challenge and push you to reach new heights.
7. Discuss the toughest issues facing the team and listen to responses
Loyal team members engage in rigorous debate. They discuss the toughest business and team issues by voicing and debating conflicting opinions. Start by bringing up potentially divisive issues and explain what you are doing and why.
8. Give your teammates feedback, and ask for it, consistently
Loyal team members give direct feedback to each other. Everyone agrees to tell each other the tough messages so that everyone can correct mistakes and improve their performance. Start by asking your teammates how you can improve.
Your First Team Building Activity!
- Create a document of the 8 Proven and ProActive Strategies for Team Success.
- Ask each team member to rank order them according their own order of importance.
- Ask each team member to tell the team a reason why for their #1 and their #8 (no discussion, this is the teams first practice at active listening).
Say this,“If you could only choose 3 of the strategies, which would they be?”
Put a chart on the wall or create an online chart wth 3 columns; 1, 2, 3 and then gather numbers under each column as reported by each team member.
Given the information ask the team to come to a consensus on the top 3 Proven Strategies for Success by which they will commit to for the duration of the team project.
If you work on a team—and nearly all of us do – why not start with these eight steps and create a loyal and effective team? I guarantee the time spent on this three-step team building activity will be be effective and increase your team productivity! Have some fun, why not practice being a team before you actually have to function as a team. There is a method to what some refer to as the ‘madness’ of teamwork!
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