As we survey the current landscape of activity be it political, sporting or business related, one of the things that stands out is the positive power that is generated when people pull together and work as a team.
Good teams encompass people who have different ideas, opinions and views of how things might be done. This is important for debate, innovation, creativity and finding the right solutions. Teamwork requires the ability to value the differences and utilise “groupthink” to share ideas and come up with the best possible answer to issues. This may mean that the team chooses to not take up some individual thoughts and some people may have to compromise.
Often, one person’s idea can be made a lot stronger after being debated in the group, so whilst an idea may well be taken up, it may often not be in the format it was originally proposed. Herein lies the strength of a great team – “None of us is as smart as all of us”. However, if individuals begin to believe that they and their ideas are more important than the team as a whole then the strength will begin to wither, giving way to personal agendas, in-fighting, political decisions etc. Valuing diversity and promoting open and honest debate is a great strength, as long as team members are able to accept this.
Here are some top tips to promote positive team working and unleash the power of pulling together
1. Understand the wider organisation – most teams are components of larger teams and to be effective need to be able to see their contribution to the organisation.
2. Success breeds success – People do best when they feel good about themselves. Agree both individual and team based goals. Ensure people remain accountable and celebrate success when results are achieved – all too often this step is forgotten and we move from one target to the next without providing the recognition for what has already been achieved.
3. Set an example – Standards apply to us too! If we manage others then we must also ‘walk our talk’.
4. Clarify roles – What does each team member bring to the balance or mix of talents and personal attributes? How do the roles fit together and support each other? The important point is then to value those differences.
5. Promote learning – It is difficult to achieve high levels of performance from a team when there is no opportunity for development. Good teams need to continue to be stretched.
6. Respond positively to mistakes – In an environment where people are asked to stretch themselves, mistakes will occur. Your response to mistakes directly determines people’s willingness to stretch themselves in the future.
Remember – fix the problem, not the blame.
7. Care about People – finally it is really important to promote an open, honest and supportive culture. Teams deal with conflict best when they can nip issues in the bud by being open and honest with each other.