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True or false? Teams that practice good teamwork contribute to the success of an organization.
Not only “true”, but also blatantly true.
The fact may be plain and simple, but creating a successful team, leading a successful team, or participating in a successful team is not so plain and simple. The sticky word is “success.”
Creating a team is easy. Sitting in the leader’s chair can be quite simple. Team membership can mean simply showing up.
objective successful? Hold on and wait a second.
This article explores two requirements for team success. For each requirement, we explore specific action items to help you and your team meet those requirements.
We start with trust.
Trust: the foundation of a successful team
A team that bases its harmony on trust enjoys the ease and enthusiasm that success brings. In fact, that foundation of trust makes the harmony even sweeter.
Steven Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, states: “Trust is the highest form of human motivation. It brings out the best in people. But it takes time and patience …”
Trust and team are almost synonymous. However, you cannot assume that trust develops naturally as part of the team’s personality. Bringing trust, what it means, how it works, and why it matters, to the front of each team member’s mind can be a huge step toward team success. A big step that demands your attention.
Here are three underlying benefits that your organization, and your customers, will experience once your team works with high levels of confidence.
Increased efficiency – As team members trust that each one will fulfill their responsibility, they will all be able to attend to their specific functions more fully. Decreasing distractions increases efficiency.
Improved drive – The more each member of a team trusts other members, the stronger the team assumes. This unity reinforces the team’s commitment to fulfill its purpose.
Mutual motivation – When two (or more) people trust each other, each consciously and unconsciously strives to maintain the trust of the others. That motivation encourages each member of the team to seek maximum performance.
So how do you build trust as a fundamental team possession?
Here is the short answer: build a clear structure and process to promote trust. Team members want to trust each other from the start. However, if specific tools and tactics are lacking to build trust, they will have a hard time building that trust.
Below are three traits that establish a foundation for trust among team members. Notice how each trait focuses on interactions between teammates.
Open expression – Each team member needs continuous opportunities to express their thoughts on the purpose, process and procedures, performance and personality of the team. From the beginning of the team, the team leader can initiate the opportunity for each individual to speak about the actions of the team. A truly effective leader ensures that even the quietest member is heard (and thus becomes increasingly comfortable speaking). The more continuously all members of a team have the opportunity to express themselves openly, the more they all become accustomed to speaking freely and being heard. Open expression quickly becomes everyone’s pleasure and not just the leader’s responsibility.
Equity information – When it comes to information relevant to the team and the role of the team, the rule should be “all for one and one for all”. Information available to one team member must be available to all team members. The secret of this trait is in its process. Standardized practices for sharing information are just as simple. A few minutes setting up a team email address and holding a five minute update each morning are two examples. They can establish patterns of behavior in which everyone gets to know what everyone gets to know. The level of trust increases when no one fears that they will receive less information than others.
Performance reliability – We trust people we can count on. We have people who do what they say they will do when they say they will. Conscientious work on the first two features produces results on the third. Open expression and shared information improve the reliability of team member performance. Open communication can put everyone’s performance charts on the table: strengths and weaknesses, confidence and fears. Equality of information lets everyone know what and how other team members contribute to success. This knowledge produces shared support, praise, and assistance. What is more like a team than that? When the expectations of each team member are clear and open, each team member strives to perform at full strength for the good of the team.
TIPS FOR TEAM CONFIDENCE
The following five tips support the idea that Open expression, fairness of information and reliability of performance grow from how well a team communicates with itself. These tips are for the team leader and for all team members.
1. Speak the talk. Take responsibility for modeling Open Expression. Don’t be afraid to share information about yourself. Encourage others to do the same. Follow it.
2. Build the pattern. In team meetings and cold water talks, establish the pattern of asking and asking. Share information about your work and ask questions about your teammate’s work. It takes a bit of repetition to anchor the pattern. It’s worth it.
3. Distribute to discuss. Have the team believe that one of the reasons for distributing information to everyone is that it can be discussed. “New data” can be a constant topic on the meeting agenda. “What do you think?” it can be a constant question among team members.
4. Make good news. Generally, people want to complete work rather than fill roles. There is not much to say about one’s role. Much to share about one’s work. Create opportunities for people to comfortably share good news about the work they do. (Bulletin boards, email news, lunchtime discussions, for example.
5. Use a constructive question. Have your team adopt a specific question that does two things: direct attention to the team’s purpose and stimulate communication. The question may be an icebreaker in team meetings, a common follow-up to “Hi! How are you?” in the hallways, a regular fixture in team reports. Sample questions: What progress have we made? What have we done that makes us proud? What obstacles have we overcome?