Whether you are the leader of the company, your department, or your cubicle, what you do and how you do it affects the members of the team. A team culture that follows certain protocol will ensure a more effective and energetic team environment. Team leader or not, take any opportunity to contribute to the overall effectiveness of your team. Use the following 10 Tips as a checklist to measure how your team is functioning and see if there is room for improvement. Share these tips with your teammates so everyone is on the same page.
1. Celebrate the Individual
A team is only as good as the sum of its parts. And a team is just that: a collection of parts, individuals actually, each marching to the beat of his or her own drummer. Remembering that will put more soul into your team spirit.
2. Establish Role Clarification
Each member should be able to articulate clearly what they are responsible for, and how what they do contributes to the team’s or organization’s goals.
3. Be Inclusive
Along those lines, team members have different strengths and talents and a well-rounded team benefits from incorporating all of them. Teams need enthusiastic energizers, deliberate doers, supportive collaborators and question raisers. While no type should dominate or bog down a team, value and respect each for its diverse contribution.
4. Start Each Meeting with a “Check-in”
Before every team meeting, take a few moments for each team member to “check-in” with the group on a business or personal note. The result? Team members are less distracted by outside circumstances and feel more connected to each other.
5. Creative and Environment of Trust and Safety
Establish these as ground rules. Members should feel comfortable talking about any concerns or issues. Have a conversation about trust. What are members willing to talk about? What feels less safe?
6. Encourage Healthy Debate
Trust and safety lead to lively debate. Are all ideas being expressed? Are different points of view seen as critical to creative work? Brainstorm in an environment that is tolerant and encourages participation.
7. Go for Commitment vs. Consensus
Healthy debate leads to buy-in. But rather then go for 100% agreement, strive for commitment. In other words, be sure everyone can truly commit to a decision even if they initially challenge it. Keep talking until the decision is refined and everyone supports it.
8. Hold Each Other Accountable
Accountability in teams is where the rubber meets the road. Become accountable for getting the best out of each other. Hold each other accountable to promises made – not your expectations.
9. Conduct Team Performance Reviews
Ask yourselves regularly, “How are we doing as a team?” Consider the following criteria: Trust, healthy debate, buy-in, accountability. Patrick Lencioni says more about these team-building strategies in his book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.
10. Recognize Successes
It is amazing how rare this is. If you are a team leader, pay extra close attention. Bosses tend to think, “Succeeding is your job.” While that is true, check the winning team at the end of a football or baseball game-any sport for that matter. They certainly succeeded at their job. How do they behave? How do their coaches behave?