You are only as good as the team you lead. There has never been a truer statement.
Whether you are building a team from the ground up or are leading an existing team, it’s important to remember that team culture and mindset strongly influence the behaviour, effectiveness and performance of a team.
A team is not (and should not be) a group of people that are an extension of you and your ideals as a leader. They are a group of individuals with their own beliefs, values, traits and experiences, and recognising and respecting this is a great starting point when you are seeking to engage with them individually and collectively.
Your role as leader is to create an engaging team culture and an environment in which they can thrive together and there are some key ways in which you can achieve this.
Trust is a key element of a high performing team, and one that is often overlooked in favour of individual performance.
Simon Sinek shares a great example of team trust in his TED Talk about Navy Seals. Many leaders make the mistake of thinking output, or performance, is the measure of a high performing team. In actual fact, a team with a high level of trust between members will outperform a team with low to no trust among members.
Consider a sports team right before a game. They get in a huddle, remind each other of their mission, their goal, review their tactics, give each other a pat on the back and then get on with the game.
A good team culture will involve regular communication. But, don’t mistake this for multiple meetings!
Short regular huddles, specific catchups that are on point (and for a point!), will help ensure everyone is on the same path. This also allows team members to speak up about any challenges they are encountering or resourcing issues they are struggling with.
Your businesses culture is based on a set of behaviours. To ensure a happy and healthy team culture create a set of values or ground rules that the team collectively agree to.
As a leader, focus your attention on the individual and collective behaviours of the team. Recognise and reward team members who exhibit the accepted behaviours well and hold those who do not to account. Base your feedback and performance reviews around the accepted (and expected) behaviours and this will reinforce the culture you seek your team to commit to and embrace.
Don’t underestimate the power of effective team building – all work and no play make for a very boring (and burnt out) team.
Humans are social creatures and have a strong need for meaningful connections. Create opportunities for your team to spend some time together socially, away from task related activities or work to build relationships. Foster a sense of fun in your team and the connections will grow.
CLEAR VISION/ PURPOSE
As a leader, it’s so important to provide clear communication and direction to your team. Don’t leave them guessing, or worse, assuming!
Be consistent in your messaging and your tone, and ensure that your team understands what their collective purpose is, how it aligns to the goals of the business and how they contribute to that
Celebrate the wins of the team – big and small!
By focusing on collective wins rather than individual wins, you reinforce the importance of the team working together and in doing so create a culture of collaboration and cooperation.
By focusing your efforts in these key areas, you will be helping your team be the best they can be.
And that’s a win for your business!
For extended reading on this subject, my top reads are:
- Patrick Lencioni – 5 Dysfunctions of a Team
- Katzenbach & Smith – The Wisdom of Teams
- Ray McLean – Any Given Team
Anita Schneyder, Teams on Purpose
Anita is the head consultant and designs and delivers custom-made team and leadership programs for Teams on Purpose clients.
Anita is a Chartered Accountant with a background in team leadership and the lived experience of the different ‘hats’ that leaders are required to wear. This gives her the ability to think strategically (look at the bigger picture) but also a practical understanding of the challenges and perspectives that come with different roles and the importance of a harmonious, aligned approach within teams.
Anita combines a warm, authentic coaching style with bona fide management experience and her down to earth, authentic personality creates an atmosphere of fun and calm focus, supporting clients to feel safe and inspired to engage in growth and development.
Anita lives in Old Reynella, Adelaide and when she’s not at the helm of Teams on Purpose, Anita’s passions include good food and wine, amazing conversation, adventure, laughter and dancing like no one’s watching!