Working on a team can be great – you have access to a diverse group of skills and don’t have to carry the brunt of the work all on your own. But, there are times when working on a team can feel more like a tug of war contest than anything else.
As Chief Engagement Officer of Potential Unlimited, I work with a lot of teams with the mandate of helping them work together in a way that will bring a whole new level of success. Sometimes these teams are experiencing conflict and we need to all take a look at what is really going on under the surface, and then other times, the teams I work with have hit a plateau in their efforts and need a shot of adrenaline to revitalize them.
Either way, the success of teams is critical to the success of your workplace as well as your own individual success. Your team is a reflection of you.
I’d like to share some of my Top Team Success Tips with you:
- Be honest – This sounds easy, but it is not. Being completely honest requires each person on the team to be able to say exactly what they think and for others to then accept his or her viewpoint and actually consider it in the decision making process.
- Listen – It is our natural inclination to assume our own viewpoint is always the correct one, but I challenge you to stay open and remain curious. Look for ways to improve your direction as a team at all times.
- Book-end celebrations – Representatives from organizations often come to me after one of their teams wrap up a successful project to book their team on my Ultimate Retreat in Utah as a reward for the group’s hard work. This is great, but I think by holding your celebration to the end only, something can be lost within the project itself. To have a team that gels, it really helps to have an event or retreat in the beginning of a big project to get your team bonding and sharing a laugh. Once the project starts, things can get tense. If team members are able to enter the project with a clear frame of mind and good relationships, that will improve the outcome of any project.
- Build in accountability – One of the biggest areas of conflict I see within teams is when some individuals feel that others are not pulling their weight. I often work with teams at the onset of a big project to help team-coach them around setting the ‘rules of engagement’ for their team. This is the time to build in the accountability process.
- Get out of the office – Offices are a convenient place for people to meet when all employees work in the same location. But office space can stifle creativity because people think best when they are able to explore new surroundings. You wouldn’t want to sleep, eat and work in your bedroom. So, why would we think we can be at our best creatively when we do everything in our work day within the confines of the same office? Take your team out to Starbucks or a park or go for a walking meeting. You will see these meetings are more efficient and a lot more creative and fun.
- Don’t take things too seriously – I know when we get wrapped up in any project, interesting dynamics can emerge. Anyone who has watched any of the TV reality shows like Big Brother, The Amazing Race or The Bachelor (yes, I admit to watching this one myself!) can sit back and see a full range of emotions and behaviours appear when a group of people are together working towards a goal. Try and get some perspective when you see temperaments begin to flare. Remember you need to go back and work with these people again; don’t say anything you might regret out of anger. Use your honesty for constructive feedback only. Speak from your heart, not from your ego.