5 “Make-it-or-Break-It” Characteristics of a Great Team

We know the looks of high-performance teams by the remarkable results they produce and the high levels of satisfaction that is experienced by its members.  But, how many of us know the recipe for cooking up such team?  It’s a simple formula to understand, and like most recipes, the steps are progressive—blending and building on the previous step.  The first step of the process is to check on your ingredients and get a valid measure of how your team is currently performing and where it needs to improve.

How does your team stack up to these measures?

Every Team Wants to Perform, But Not Every Team Is Ready to Do the Hard Work.

Team Development

Some of us can only imagine what a productive, high-functioning team looks and feels like.  Others of us know firsthand of its benefits and wish that we can replicate it with other teams. Those wishes can be realized if the team is ready to do the work. Here are 7 tips for assessing and advancing a team’s readiness for development:

  • Visualize the benefits. There are many upsides to a high performing team.  Like any goal, unless the team has a clear understanding and picture of what it wants to achieve, and why it’s important, it will be a confusing, frustrating, … Continue reading

  • Words are Important when Providing Feedback

    Words are Important

    ssuming that we’re interested in giving feedback in such a way that the recipient is willing to listen to it (versus our need to vent), it’s important to select words that are easier for people to accept, while avoiding other words that spark defense and rejection.

    Here is a simple word list that will make a big difference when providing feedback:

    Avoid absolute-you statements, such as “You never…” or “You always…”

    “You” messages tend to create defensiveness in people. By adding an unqualified “absolute” such as “you never” or “you always”, will likely package the feedback for defense, rejection, and … Continue reading

    Team Trust: Why are members of my team so guarded and less genuine with one another?

    Team Trust

    At the heart of team trust lies the willingness of people to abandon their pride and their fear and simply be themselves. While this can be a little threatening and uncomfortable at first, ultimately, it becomes liberating for those who are tired of overthinking their actions and managing interpersonal politics at work. There are many reasons why a team might be guarded and less open with one another. Continue reading

    Team Trust: Why its hard for team members to willingly apologize to one another

    Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team

    Acknowledging one’s weaknesses, willingly apologizing, and being genuine with one another are all behavioral examples of team trust – vulnerability-based trust*. In part-one, I offered reasons why it’s difficult for team members to acknowledge their weakness, and what leaders can do to promote greater trust. Here, I’d like to share why team members struggle with apologizing to one another – another key trust-building behavior that is absent often within teams. Continue reading

    Team Trust: why it’s hard for team members to be vulnerable with one another

    When coworkers are open about their weaknesses and admit their mistakes, does it help you trust them more?  Well, it should. Team trust is all about vulnerability.

    We know trust is high when team members acknowledge their weaknesses, willingly apologize, and are unguarded and genuine with one another. Without this type of trust, it’s unlikely that teams will be willing to engage in healthy conflict or commit to decisions. In part one of this three-part series, we’ll take a closer look at why it’s difficult for team members to acknowledge their weakness with one another. In part two, we’ll … Continue reading

    Best Bosses: A Case of Emotional Economics

    Whether it is a passion for people, data, achievement, or status, everyone wants to be satisfied emotionally.  I know it’s a concept that doesn't make for a spellbinding tale, but let’s face it, being a great manager nowadays requires a bit more modesty as it does boldness.

    It’s a simple truth that emotion drives our most productive and satisfied employees.  It’s true for teams and departments, and the latest claim is that it can affect the economy of an entire organization.  It’s what stretches us to set and achieve our highest-level goals.  It regulates how hard we … Continue reading

    Team Commitment and Accountability

    Accountability and Commitment

    Accountability has become another catchword – so overused and with so many different interpretations that it has lost much of its meaning. According to Patrick Lencioni, author of the Five Dysfunctions of a Team, “When it comes to teamwork, accountability means the willingness of members to remind one another when they’re not living up to performance standards and results.” This includes feedback on individual behavior, such as the extent to which members act with integrity, interact in respectful ways, and are aligned with the team’s values.

    Teams that Avoid Accountability

    The usual source of dysfunction in this area … Continue reading

    Two Keys for Achieving Team Commitment

    Team Commitment

    Great teams understand that they must be able to make timely decisions and commit, even when the outcome is uncertain and not everyone initially agrees.   It’s the desire for consensus and the need for certainty that prevents many teams from achieving commitment and moving forward.

    Teams that fail to commit find themselves revisiting discussions and decisions again and again.  They encourage second-guessing which creates ambiguity and lack of confidence about the team’s direction and priorities.  Whether its avoidance of risk, excessive analysis, or fear of failure, a lack of team commitment means delay and lost opportunities. It … Continue reading

    Mastering Team Conflict

    Team Conflict

    Teamwork doesn't always come easy. To be a strong and cohesive team, team members must trust one another and be able to engage in healthy team conflict.  Mastering team conflict is the second key behavior in The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team™  model.

    Trust is a prerequisite for mastering conflict. Only team members who trust one another are going to feel comfortable engaging in unfiltered, passionate debate around issues and decisions. Otherwise, they are likely to hold back their opinions. That’s not to say that some teams that lack trust don’t argue. It’s just that their arguments are often destructive. … Continue reading