The greatest teams have certain things going on that make them great.
There is no team without what I call ‘A Reason‘. Some call this a vision. The word vision might seem a little too much for some team functions. But every team must have ‘A Reason’ for existing. What is your purpose?
There is no team without a ‘Team Leader‘. About 15 years ago companies experimented with the concept of what they called ‘Self-managed Teams’ – it failed! A team will never work at its maximum ability without a Team Leader – leadership is essential. A leadership that can adopt a style suitable for any given moment of the day – coaching, directive, consultative, listening and developmental.
Of course, needless to say, a Team is not a team without ‘Team members‘. It’s here where there are some key behaviours that can make the difference in being ‘great’. Let me list a few:
– Ownership : A great team has team members that feel fully responsible for the success or failure of the ‘Reason’ for the Team. Ownership, language like ‘My Team’ and ‘Our Goals’, is an essential force in any team.
– Flexibility : A group of individuals will stay rigid to their individual roles, a great Team will be flexible in what each person needs to do to achieve the ‘Reason’ for the Team. Huge corporations have closed overnight due to the inability to be flexible. McDonalds is a great example of a flexible mindset. When healthy eating hit the conscience of western cities they responded by updating their menu with a ‘healthy option’ – salads and smoothies! They would have joined the historic great failures if they didn’t do this. Everyone does what it takes to make the team’s Reason succeed.
– Role Clarity : Not in contrast to but in support of my above point, it is also important team members are very clear what their specific role is in the team. There is always need for flexibility but only once everyone is clear what their default position is.
– Self-confidence : No team member should feel completely lost to the great ‘Reason’. If each person doesn’t come contributing with full self-confidence the team actually loses out. You have more to offer when your self-esteem is healthy. Warning, this may at times create a few frictions as egos rub together – but better this than a team not fully performing.
– Self-aware : In Daniel Goleman’s studies on Emotional Intelligence he lists Self-awareness and self-management as 2 of the 4 competencies that determine Emotional Intelligence – a measure of an individual’s future success. To function successfully in a team you need to be aware of your own behaviour, your strengths and weaknesses. For example : If you are a loud, dominate figure then tone it down in meetings to ensure others voices get heard. If you are a quiet and thoughtful person, come to a team meeting prepared so you are more likely to be ready to contribute.
– Communication : No team will be great without healthy communication. Let me outline 3 types of communication that are essential:
- Information Communication – things you don’t need to know to fulfill the direct tasks of your specific role but is relevant to the overall ‘Reason’ of the team. Its essential for continual buy-in that team members are up to date on other team member’s activities to a certain degree. Communication for just information sake is a good thing.
- Functional Communication – this is communication between team members things that relate directly to the tasks at hand for that person. In order to function as a team we have to regularly think ‘Who else needs to know this’, ‘What do I need to communicate to fully empower this individual’.
- Relational Communication – Building strong team rapport is essential to a great team. Take time to connect, to gel, to build, to understand, to relate positively for the greater good of the team.
We all work in teams – whether our family ‘team’, in our workplace or at Church. Even if you are a ‘sole-trader’ business you have a team – your clients, your accountant, your bank manager, suppliers and so on.
I’m believing with you today for the best. See you in Church.