When you work on a team you want it to be the best ever, accomplish the goals and be a success. Reality is that most teams are average, a few are failures and a few are spectacular successes. This is a normal distribution of all things in life, teams included. The secret is to move the bar up on what is average or typical. The better teams perform on average the better the experience is for everyone.
How do you improve the quality of a team? Here are three key behaviors that anyone, at any level, can apply to improve their team’s quality.
- Inclusive. If you are open to including the others into your work and ideas they will be open to including you and your ideas. This is a cornerstone of collaboration. Encourage inclusion and model it.
- Supportive. Be supportive of your fellow members’ goals and efforts. Help them achieve more by assisting them. They will return the favor.
- Accountable. Hold yourself accountable to the team, its goals and your promises. Ask others to hold you to your word and hold them to their word. Never wait for the boss or team leader to address performance issues. Tackle it yourself in a professional and supportive way to help people do more.
When you practice these three behaviors people will trust you and will want to work with you. In a team environment this means that you will be sought after to be on teams because you are someone who helps make teams succeed. This can be a very rewarding position to be in. If you are early in your career it will help establish your ability to get things done by working with others, which is critical to your ability to advance. If you are already in a leadership role being a good team player and being able to manage successful teams continues to build your credibility and value to the organization.
These three behaviors are trust building which is the first step to getting a team to work together. If people trust each other they are more willing to work with each other and commit to the team’s goals. Without trust people will not commit because they will not believe others are committed. When everyone is committed to the success of the team it will succeed even when things go radically wrong.
If your team is dysfunctional and you want to see it change go first. Lead by example and model the behaviors you want the team to have. It will be hard and at times frustrating. Yet with perseverance you can make a difference. Be the change you want to see in your team.
What have you done that has helped your team succeed in the face of adversity?
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