Our years of work with teams has made two realities abundantly clear:
Teams are increasingly critical for all types and sizes of organizations…
- Leadership teams that enable, manage, and sustain growth
- Project teams that develop and implement major business improvement or strategic initiatives
- Departmental teams that must perform complex functions flawlessly, often with fewer resources than ever.
Without mastering essential teaming capabilities, even your most talented individuals are sharply limited in what they can achieve as a team.
So what are essential teaming capabilities?
- Focused purpose
The team needs a compelling purpose and a reason why the purpose requires active involvement from each team member.
- Agree on and use a clear operating system to work and make decisions
The team must agree on how they will work together. Who does what, and how decisions will be made, including identifying which ones need to be made by the full team.
- Have the capability to communicate openly and effectively
There must be an environment of trust and the ability to foster dialogue which moves the team forward. Differences and disagreements must be dealt with head-on, not left to linger.
- Make clear commitments to achieving team’s goals
With competing commitments pressing on each team member, including other team responsibilities and often a functional “day job”, it is critical that each team member be actively enrolled in seeing the team through to success. This requires not just a one-time enrollment but actively balancing and rebalancing multiple commitments.
- Leverage each member’s abilities
Teams are at their best when they recognize that not everyone can do everything well. If they could, a team would likely be unnecessary! Teams need to identify needed skills and capabilities and map these to the people of the team. This holds true not just for functional skills like analysis or writing, but team role-based skills, like brainstorming or offering a critical eye.
- Hold one another accountable.
Finally, team members don’t wait for the leader or boss to crack the whip. Team members make firm commitments to deliver X by day Y to quality level Z, and the group as a whole and each member is responsible for holding one another accountable.
Master these six capabilities, and your team’s potential is limitless!
Written by Steve Schack (Steve@erimo.com)