In an earlier blog we wrote about how the single most competitive advantage in business today is teamwork, and posed some thought provoking questions around just what makes the difference between a team and a group of people.
These questions can literally take some teams weeks to come up with the answers, and so they should! To have real value and clarity, these points need some careful attention and agreement collectively.
Naturally some people are not team players - they operate differently and are far more productive and motivated when operating under their own rules. As a team leader this can be challenging and I have often been asked by managers about how to get certain individuals to become more of a team player. My answer is to start doing some work around the 5 key behaviours of functional teams as laid out by Patrick Lencioni in his 5 behaviours of a cohesive team, and observe what happens.
Lencioni talks about how the 5 Behaviours model works, and how important building TRUST is to any team's success. The number one building block, "Trust knows that when a team does push you, they're doing it because they care about the team". The absence of Trust in the team is due to a fear of being vulnerable with each other. It prevents the building of Trust within the team, and unless this is present, everything else is futile in terms of improving behaviours. There has to be openness and honesty for cohesion to work, and again this has to start with the leader being able to hold his or her had up and say "Yep, I got it wrong", or "I need some help with this guys". Any high performing team is comfortable admitting their mistakes to each other and promotes vulnerability amongst themselves.
Teams who are distrusting of each other often display the following behaviours:
Conceal their weaknesses and mistakes for each other
Hesitate to ask for help or provide constructive feedback
Hesitate to offer help outside their own areas of responsibility
Jump to conclusions about the intentions and aptitudes of others without attempting to clarify them
Fail to recognise and tap into one another's skills and experiences
Waste time and energy managing their behaviours for effect
Dread meetings and find reasons to avoid spending time together
If some of the above behaviours are present in your team, then you need to start to take action to bring about change. If you do nothing else, address the levels of mis-trust within your team first and foremost.
Without trust, a team will struggle to move forward to achieve its goals and ultimately become cohesive and productive. You won't solve this overnight , but with some simple measure you can start to turn things around.
For more information on how to build trust within your team try this simple but effective exercise:
Have your team in question in a room together, then ask them all to share these 3 bits of information amongst the group:
Where did they grow up?
How many siblings do they have?
What was the most challenging thing growing up?
By sharing this information it is non-threatening - everyone has been a kid! However, what I guarantee it will start to do, is promote different conversations amongst the team.
"Wow, John, I never knew you originated from ..."
"Pat, you have never spoken before about your other 9 siblings, how was that at meal times?"
You are starting the process of openness and vulnerability and even though it may feel like simple steps, you are putting them on a very different trajectory to operate as a cohesive team.
Why not get in touch to find out how EFC Performance and help you use this to operate as a cohesive team.