When people say, “I have a great team”, what do they mean? They like everyone on the team? They all communicate well? Everyone pulls their own weight? Perhaps they jump in and help one another. People are accountable and reliable. I think it’s D, all the above. Easy enough, right? Well maybe not. Let’s assume that not everyone on the team is a Rockstar (that would be too easy). Is it possible for us to still create a great team with the resources and people we already have?
Let’s dig in a little deeper into that question. The goal of most organizations is what? To have productive employees who do their jobs well and bring in profit for the organization…right? And the way to ensure this is to get everyone on the same page or “to row in the same direction”. It sounds to me like a team can either make or break a company. If the team is great, the organization is profiting from that greatness, if the team is struggling, chances are the organization is also feeling that struggle. Each team in an organization is either working together or working against one another.
How about we look at why teams work against each other…because it wouldn’t be on purpose…right? The Author of Why is genuine teamwork elusive? an article published on The Medium breaks down common flaws amongst teams. The author states;
The word trust is used so often and in so many ways that it has lost its impact…Teams that lack trust waste inordinate amounts of time and energy managing their behaviors and interactions within the group. Great teams do not hold back with one another.
Conflict, or lack thereof
A dysfunctional team may have tension, but almost no constructive conflict. If we don’t trust one another, then we aren’t going to engage in open, ideological conflict, and we’ll just continue to preserve a sense of artificial harmony.
It’s rare everyone really agrees on something naturally and quickly. Consensus becomes an attempt to please everyone, which usually turns into displeasing everyone equally. Most reasonable people just need to be heard, and to know their input has been understood, considered and responded to.
It’s not easy to hold someone accountable. Some people are hard to hold accountable because they are so helpful. Others because they get defensive. Others because they are intimidating. Especially if it’s a peer to peer situation.
Misinterpretation of success/results
If there is a lack of defined goals for the team, often it leaves room for misinterpretation and individual ego to sneak in. As a result, individuals might become ambiguous about what they are trying to accomplish, making it difficult to focus on individual success. ("Why is genuine teamwork elusive?", 2017)
Yep, sounds about right. I am sure we can all identify with at least one of these. And on the surface, these are all relatively innocent crimes against teamwork. We are trying to keep the peace, not step on people’s toes, micromanage or make anyone feel uncomfortable…but it’s clear that unknowingly we’re poking holes in the boat or are simply paddling in the opposite direction as everyone else.
SHOOT! So, what are we supposed to about it?
I recently met Alexis David, The Group Sales Manager and her team at The Curtis Hotel in Denver. I was immediately impacted by their team dynamics. They were cohesive, playful and trusting. I thought It would be helpful to ask Alexis what their secret to a great team is.
We asked her this question:
How can you as a member of a team help create a team that is great? Specifically, what strategies do you and/or your team use to foster productivity and "greatness"?
Here is what she said,
I feel very lucky to work with such an amazing team at The Curtis Hotel. As a team, we meet every morning to discuss our business leads for the day and make sure we are all on the same page. Having such open communication on a daily basis creates an environment full of trust, teamwork, and friendship. We push each other to be the best we can be, and we celebrate our successes as a team.
I hear communication, accountability, cohesion, vision, consistency, friendship, trust and celebration. At the simplest level, I think a great team comes down to genuineness. In every stride that you take as a teammate or manager to help create your “A team” be sure that it’s genuine, if not then no matter the intention, you will ultimately be working backward.
If you’re interested in digging deeper into teamwork and how your role can impact your team's success you are in luck! we are welcoming Sarita Maybin next Wednesday, June 27th to talk about Total Teamwork: Adapting, Succeeding and Thriving in High-Tech Times. Email Charlee.firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary preview of our Leadership Series®.
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