So, I’m wondering, how do they get it right?
After being in a new team for barely 3 months I more than ever feel supported, encouraged, recognised and motivated, and I have an open and trusting relationship with my team members. I’ve been called on for mistakes for sure, yet it was done in a way that has kept me focused. I didn’t feel belittled or badgered, but was rather left wanting to contribute more to my team.
I think the answer is trust, that precious commodity that companies are so scared of giving their employees. Sure, there are good reasons to be cautious. But that trust can create spectacular results.
The things that have made such a difference to my experience are all lessons on trust, and team building.
- A team is like a project: it requires management, support, tracking and a lot of passion. Yet, whoever said there has to be only one project manager? Anyone who is able to contribute should do so. A leader that is part of the team is far more respected.
- Visibility and openness, being in a team means you don’t need to work alone or prove yourself; in fact this can be immensely detrimental when one person starts to hoard information. Keep communicating.
- Understand your team. Take the time to get to know each other. A Myers-Briggs Personality test can be very insightful in helping you work together. Remember that people are invariably different. You don’t need to agree. You just need to understand another’s perspective and be considerate to ensure a smooth working relationship.
- Contribute. When every team member feels valued, you’d be amazed how easy contributions will come. Contributing flow easy in a trusting team.
- Encourage. Feeling like no-one appreciates your contributions is just the beginning of apathy. Don’t take things for granted. Acknowledge the good and remember that it is the little things that people remember. And if there is disappointment, keep in mind that you are upset with someone on your team because of your need to see the team perform. So redirect your language into that need and make sure that you are expressing your concern and letting that person know that you still believe in him/her.
At what point does a group of individuals evolve into a team? How does one progress from doubt, resistance and poor performance, to a performing team based on trust? One has to wonder whether team building is much different from building a relationship.
If your team is struggling, it is perhaps time to ask the difficult question: If you can’t value your team for who they are and what they bring to the table then you might need to check why you are a team in the first place. What is your team’s purpose?
Then start with the building blocks to create trust.