A recent Inc.com article on team building concluded that “What matters isn’t so much who’s on your team, but rather how your team works together.” This aligns with what my clients already know. I recently asked my clients what leaders wanted most and the overwhelming response was “an engaged team.” Why? Because these leaders know that that engaged teams are happier, more productive and effective, plus they are more fun to lead!
Ready to Get Your Team Rocking? Here are the steps…
Get them dreaming
Get them talking
Get them doing
Get them celebrating
Step One: Get them dreaming
Most of the time when I’m invited to work with a team, there is something they are trying to fix or improve within the team dynamics. The first step is to identify what is happening now (good and not so good), and what they want to create in the future. That’s their dream. Get them to imagine what it would look like to have a higher performing team. What would be happening? How would they be interacting together? Where would they be focusing their attention? What would be different or better? The more clarity you can elicit from them around their desired future, the easier it is to create it. This is the process of creating a shared vision - the dream to go after and make real!
Step Two: Get them talking
Trust is the foundation of any good relationship, and it is critically important on teams where we bring together very diverse groups of people working towards a shared goal. Getting them talking to each other is essential for building trust. Get them talking about themselves; their strengths, backgrounds, values, needs, what they can contribute to the team, and where they might need some help from others. I especially like to get teams discovering their strengths because it grounds them in what is RIGHT with each other, rather than what is wrong. I’ve found that when people can own and leverage their strengths, it can be easier to admit where we might need some help. This willingness to be vulnerable with each other, when honored, is one of the best trust-builders.
Step Three: Get them doing
Once the dream of what the team wants to create is clear and trust has been developed, get them into action! What do they need to DO to make the vision a reality? Do they need to create team agreements? How will they hold themselves accountable? How will they invite healthy conflict? How will they measure progress towards their goals? What processes, systems and support need to be created or improved to move towards realization of their shared vision? Who has what strengths that can be leveraged for the best outcomes? Who will do what by when? Assign, collaborate, track progress, learn and adjust. Working together towards a common goal deepens relationships and creates a rich opportunity to stretch and grow your team.
Step Four: Get them celebrating
Because our world is moving so fast and there is always more to get done, this is a step that often gets skipped. Pausing to celebrate is an important part of keeping your team engaged. They need to feel like their work matters, that they did something worthwhile, and that they made a positive impact on others. If we are constantly switching to the next TO DO without stopping to celebrate what we have accomplished, burnout can soon set in. Team celebrations build community through acknowledging victories, values and learning. We don’t have to wait for the finish line before we celebrate. Pausing to celebrate progress and small wins along the way keeps people motivated to keep at it. Recognizing the talents and contributions of each team member brings out their best. Isn’t that worth doing?
Simple, right? It is simple, and as anyone who has tried to quit smoking or lose weight can tell you, simple doesn’t mean easy. Getting expert support can help you make it easier. Every team is different, and that’s why a customized approach is so important. During my post-engagement interviews with clients I ask about the value they got from working with me. One client shared, “The thing you brought was the ability to get everyone to buy in by asking them what was missing, and what they wanted… and creating focus around what they really want, and delivering to that. I don’t know how you did it, but my staff felt safe with you. You gave them permission to talk about the things that were there that no one wanted to talk about. You made it safe to have conflict. Since then we have been bringing healthy conflict into staff meetings. It’s amazing!”
About the Author: Tina R. Shaw, PCC is an accomplished organizational development professional and coach who works with leaders who want to increase engagement with their teams so that together they can create the results they want. She supports leaders and teams in discovering their own answers while offering tools and resources customized to their needs to make the change process easier. If you would like some support to Get Your Team Rocking you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can learn more about Tina here: www.linkedin.com/in/tinarshaw