What is a team? If you head out to Linkedin you will find 1000 or more professionals who will tell you what a team is, how you build a good one and how you take one you have and make it high performing.
So I ask again, what is a team? First off over the years I’ve realized there is drift that happens with a managed team. I have been on teams with managers that managed the team and effectively created drift. A distance where people could freely go in a different direction. I have been teams, (often with the same people from a managed team) with leaders and find there isn’t that drift.
So teams have goals. Goals have leaders not managers. Managers need to work for leaders and help drive the goals. But leaders set the goals, managers drive to them.
Inherently there are things you can do with and around your TEAM to make them better. In fact the rules are very simple and so easy to implement, I wonder whey there are 1000’s of people who spend their careers helping others build teams. Success is easy, why doesn’t everyone see it?
- Start and end meetings ON TIME. When the time for the meeting to ends comes, look around the room and say let’s pause so everyone that has another meeting can leave now. If you don’t have another meeting we can continue or reschedule.
- Make sure the person you pick as your second is worthy. I can’t tell you how many teams I’ve been on that were ruined by the person picked as the second.
- Find value in every team member. Why is this so hard? Why do people struggle with allowing value from all team members? Why do teams struggle with this. In professional sports the injury to a player is sad and painful for the team, but they have the “next person up” philosophy. Step up and preform when it is your time. Remember once upon a time it was Wally Pip, not Lou Gehrig. So you have to know the value of each member of the team. You never know when you will need that person.
- Do what you say you will do. I had a manager once who swore if we won a specific account he would make sure I got an award. We won, the account team told him we won because of my help. My reward? I knew we won. Beyond that the manager never did anything. It meant I left that team. Because you never tell someone something will happen unless you intend to make it happen.
The best team I was ever on was working for a Bank on the East Coast of the US. That team was led by a person who later became and remains a very dear friend. But the thing about this person that made the team work was he took the blame for problems. He also was not afraid to call any of us and say “get with the program.”
Teams, that end up preforming great deeds are easy to build. Follow the four rules I’ve listed above and you will build a good team. Be aware of the communication patterns in your team so that you don’t end up supporting an anti-pattern in your meetings. If your team walks into the room with the ability to say and share anything, then your team will succeed. Just remember rule 4 is the one you can never violate. You can get around rules 1-2 with easy changes (rotate your second meeting by meeting, let people know that meets are flexible, but that you will not catch people up they can read the notes if they don’t get there on time). Rule 3 is simple acknowledging the value of each team member. If you don’t do that your team fails anyway.