What’s the difference between a team and a collection of individuals each taking clearly defined roles? What defines a mature team from an immature one? When do we support an ailing team-member, and when do we call it a day? Wouldn’t it be simpler to streamline operations and just do it yourself?
These are just a few of the very real questions that have come up in the past couple of months. Here are a few of the insights that have emerged:
• No team will ever be perfect … if “perfect” means the complete absence of problems. An inspired team takes a mature approach and deals with issues as they arise – as opposed to the immature reactions of blaming others, hiding the problems, or sticking their heads in the sand.
• A compelling vision is not enough. If the individuals do not have the competencies and tools to do the job, inspiration turns into frustration. There needs to be a clear understanding of the competencies and tools required for success and appropriate investments made based on a business case and clear Return on Investments calculations.
• A team equally needs a robust and clear framework in which to work i.e. accountability, a structured way to define and share priorities, clear-cut roles with specified outcomes to deliver, a culture in which people do what they say and consistent leadership. This also means clear understanding of the consequences of achievement and under achievement.
• In a relay race, the baton is most likely to be dropped when it is passed from one runner to another. By minimising baton-passing, we minimise the risks of miscommunication, annoyed clients, mistakes and failures. Of course we want to make the best use of everyone’s talents. But, we must balance that with the risk of dropping the baton when too many people are involved or people are only playing to their own preferences.
• In the 21st century workplace, there will be less and less tolerance for temper-tantrums, negativity, sarcasm or bullying. Managers who rely on these immature tactics sooner or later need to grow up if they ever expect to have quality support from a sustainable and inspired team.
• It is not your professional responsibility to provide others with day-care, primary education or psychotherapy. Your team is there to support you and you are there to support them – as adults. If these boundaries get too blurred, effectiveness is seriously diminished. Making time to have the difficult conversations is critical to the success of the team.
• A shared, compelling vision motivates and inspires. But, compelling visions can go stale … particularly if they are not regularly revisited. How do you know if your vision is still compelling?
One of the best ways to deal with misunderstandings in a team is to step back and become more objective rather than making it ‘personal’. All too often I see people interpret the behaviour of others as a personal attack or as a premeditated attempt to undermine them. This fires all sorts of emotional triggers and before you know it we have a cocktail of intense neurochemicals surging through our bodies that put us in fight or flight mode. Our brain then makes accidental connections and things can get out of hand very easily.
- How are you addressing the issues mentioned above?
- What are your biggest challenges when it comes to building an inspired team?
- What is the one skill, that if you mastered it, would have the biggest impact on the development of your team?
Many of my clients were dealing with a number of the above issues and felt frustrated by the lack of accountability in their teams. But when they found that there is a way to decode the behavioural patterns and motivation traits, they were able to remain objective, defuse potential conflicts and not only resolve issues but improve motivation and performance.
Like any meaningful communication this takes real effort but using tools like the LAB Profile or taking a ‘motivational fingerprint’ by using the iWAM (inventory of Work Attitude and Motivation) make it easier.