Are the members of your team focused on the success of the team or their personal success? If they are focusing on their personal needs the team is not going to be high performing, even if it is just one person falling into that trap. This is not to say personal success is irrelevant or unimportant. It matters, to each of us individually and to the team as a whole. As the team leader it is up to you to gage and focus each person’s attention and efforts on the success of the team.
To keep people focused on the success of the team it is important to have the following three items in place:
- Clearly defined team goals
- Individual goals that include team success
- Visibility to teams progress
If people know what the team’s goal is and they know that as an individual they will be judged on how well the team performs it helps keep them working towards the team’s goals. However, if there is no visible measure of the team’s progress it is easy to lose track of what matters. Think of a football or baseball game. The scoreboard tells everyone who’s winning which helps keep the team that is behind focused on what they need to do to win. The same principles apply to business success. Many companies have adopted scoreboards that show status of a variety of items. This can be done at a team or department level as well.
Having a scoreboard that people see regularly will help them know what area needs work. If the team trusts each other, is open to debate and feedback, is committed to the goals, is willing to hold each other accountable then giving them a visible target will improve their performance and their ability to reach the goal. This could be something posted on the wall that is updated regularly or it can be electronic. The method is less important than having it visible.
If you decide to have a visible scoreboard then make sure that what is on it is tied to the goal of the team and is something that the members can impact. Measuring and reporting something that is beyond the scope of the team will actually demotivate them and drive them to focus on individual success. Tie the measurement to the goals of the team and once they have committed to reaching the goal it will help them adjust and adapt to get there.
Lastly, the team has to recognize that individual success is important to each person and must be respected. Acknowledge that the team as a whole succeeds when each person succeeds and each person succeeds when the team succeeds. Think of the Three Musketeers motto of “One for all and all for one”. This helps keep a balance between the needs of the individual and the needs of the team.
To truly become a high performing team each person must be willing to put the success of the team ahead of their personal success. The team then owes it to the individuals to help them advance on a personal level. When people feel supported by their team they will in turn support the team.
How do you balance the goals of the team with your personal goals?