HEALTHY TEAMS START WITH THE LEADER
Leadership makes all the difference in how well a team performs. Have you ever worked for or been on a team where the leader takes a dictatorial approach? Where the leader seeks power to the detriment of team members? Where the leader puts himself or herself first above the needs of the team?
If you have, then you know your engagement plummeted; you may have looked to leave the team, or the stress of participation made you feel awful. That’s why leadership within the team makes all the difference in what it feels like to be a team member and how much you care about team outcomes.
From his extensive work and research Ken Blanchard believes that you will never have a high-performing team unless “leadership and power” are shared. Sharing leadership and power motivates team members and keeps them engaged. But how does the leader share leadership and power? Here are 12 ways:
- Communicate, communicate, communicate. At your next team meeting, ask: "Are we on the mark?" How are we getting along?" Are we collaborating the right way?" Are we meeting our goals?"
- Spend time building the team's technical capabilities tasks and interpersonal skills (whether they're accountants or graphic designers.
- Open up lines of communication. Schedule regular check-ins with team members and invite team members to approach you anytime they have a question.
- Pick the right team members. (Hire team players vs. trying to make them team players).
- Build team member skills. Use assessments, retreats, and/or coaching.
- Set clear goals. SMART goals focus on objectives; REAL goals focus on personal and professional development.
- Clarify each person's role in achieving the common purpose. Document and discuss roles, quarterly.
- Rally support both within and outside the team, especially if working cross-functionally.
- Foster camaraderie and cooperation (e.g., with team retreats, DiSC®-type assessments).
- Promote healthy dissent, and resolve conflict when it arises (e.g., The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team™).
- Hold members accountable to one another, not just to you. Model accountability, establish accountability partnerships.
- Communicate team successes. Recognize when the team meets a strategic organizational goal or has a win that reflects organizational values.
Whether you already hit all these items on the list—or aspire to—you’re aware that all these steps take effort. It’s a lot of work to build a high-performing team, but it’s worth the work! For more help on the team-effectiveness front, we’ve got your back.
And while it’s important for the leader to be able to embrace the above actions, to leverage a team for all it’s worth, the leader needs support from his or her organization. Otherwise, the leader can do only so much to help the business succeed with an effective team.
To learn more about the what support is needed from an organization to leverage teams for all they’re worth, download The Core Components of a Team: Back to Basics. This white paper breaks it all down into the most essential elements of creating top-notch teamwork.