“None of us is as smart as all of us.” –Ken Blanchard
“Trust the team,” we have often heard, but sometimes when you know who is on the team, you may think differently and not really want to do that! Building a successful team can be very difficult when all the players have their own agendas. As a team member at work, in a civic organization, club, at home or wherever you are joined together with a group that has a common goal, it can be exhausting dealing with all those different perspectives and attitudes.
Think about the teams you are a part of that get along great and reach their goals without any problems. Then consider the groups you participate with that just don’t get along, never meet their deadlines, and the members really can’t stand each other. How does one handle it? The jealousy, undermining, hypocrisy, and just plain rudeness can make a person never want to volunteer or participate on teams ever again.
Over the years, I have participated on various teams that worked and many that didn’t work. It ultimately starts with trust and open communication within the team. When the team does not have trust, respect, and open communication, real success does not happen. True success on a team starts with each individual realizing that they are on a “team” and everyone matters.
1. Get to truly know your team members first! Do an icebreaker or plan an off-site. Your perceptions may change, and maybe that rude team member doesn’t even realize their actions make you want to walk out of the meetings.
2. Take a personal inventory of yourself. Are you open, fair, consistent, trustworthy? Remember it could be you!
3. Set clear direction as a team. Clearly define roles and responsibilities. Don’t allow others on the team to take over when it is not their area. Team members should be helpful, but not disrespectful.
4. Communicate as a team- NO cliques or silos allowed. Feedback should be constructive, proactive and constant. Some teams are prone to wait until a problem occurs before they provide feedback. Not a good idea!
5. Build trust with each other by doing what we say we are going to do and working together to meet common goals. Transparency is critical.
6. Celebrate success and learn from missed opportunities together.