Having a great team and team culture doesn’t just happen. It takes hard work. There are many things we can do to strengthen our team’s culture, but here are eight that I believe have the largest positive impact:
Have a Compelling Purpose. If you are just meeting to meet people will simply not make your gathering/group/team a priority. Most people have lots of things going on in their lives and they make decisions on what they are going to do based on what they perceive has the most value for them. If you want a great team, with people who are actively engaged, then make sure they understand why you exist. What is your team’s compelling purpose
Give Away Leadership. Great teams invite people to step up and lead. They assist, train and coach, but ultimately, they empower and trust their team to get the job done. If you want a great team, share the vision, provide the tools and then get out of the way and let people lead. In what way(s) do you give away leadership to those on your team?
Provide Structure without Red Tape. Great teams have structure and accountability. It’s the structure that allows things to get done in an orderly way. However, great teams know that too much structure slows things down and becomes burdensome. If you want a great team, provide policies and procedures but not red tape. How does your leadership provide needed structure?
Be Okay with a Little Chaos. Great teams are full of passionate people, and passionate people jump right in without being asked, which sometimes leads to a little chaos. Great teams are okay with that chaos, as it is certainly better than a bunch people needing to be forced to get off their backside to do the job. If you want a great team be okay with people showing initiative even when it means things get a little messy. How do you feel about a little chaos/mess?
Be Okay with Differences. Great teams believe that diversity is strength. They realize that when they face a difficult problem, often the best solution comes from thinking creatively, outside the box, and from merging various ideas together. The know that the collective wisdom of everyone is greater than the wisdom of any one person. If you want a great team, get everyone to bring their distinct background and perspective to the table. How often do you rely on the differences of various people on your team?
Do Not Tolerate Non-Growth. Whether formally through conferences and seminars or informally through on-the-job training and conversations, great teams provide their team members opportunities to grow. In fact, great teams do not tolerate team members not growing. They realize that who they are today will likely not be enough for them to face the challenges they will encounter tomorrow, so they are obsessed with personal and team growth. If you want a great team, provide training and enrichment opportunities for everyone and don’t tolerate non-growing team members. How do you provide opportunities for personal and team growth?
Strengthen Relationships. Great teams don’t always perfectly get along, but they have strong relationships. The face challenges, work through problems, and celebrate achievements together. They forge bonds over time. They have each other’s backs. If you want a great team, make sure to focus on people forging great relationships. What are some ways you focus on strengthening relationships?
Get Results. People want to be a part of something that is moving forward. The results don’t necessarily need to be out of this world great, but people don’t want to be on a sinking ship. Great teams don’t just have a vision, but they are also constantly talking about how that vision is being carried out. If you want a great team, make sure you are regularly demonstrating how the team is winning. How have you shared your teams’ victories recently?
(Adapted from Extraordinary Groups: How Ordinary Teams Achieve Amazing Results by Geoffrey M. Bellman)