Step1: Provide Structure.
There are huge assumptions made by organisations as to how capable their team leaders / managers are in terms of actually effectively leading their teams, and in particular getting their teams off to a great start. Many teams simply pick up the task in hand ( and any plan associated with it) and start to get busy on the actions within the plan. It's good that they are motivated but this could end in conflict as there's a possibility that working tensions increase as maybe not all goes to plan. All teams need structure so that they can get focused and engaged whilst ensuring that all the essential team performance basics are in place. Failure to pay attention to all the key basics may result in both conflict and team 'failure'. I have developed a process entitled PARTNERS™ and implementing this structured process as part of your team development will ensure that the key performance basics are being addressed. View more on PARTNERS™ here
Step 2: Get Focused.
Getting focused means more than just getting focused on the task and / or the plan. It is vital that everyone is fully bought into the actual purpose of the team. Being fully emotionally engaged with the team's purpose means that everyone will begin to commit to realise the team's purpose and will be motivated to ensure that the purpose is realised. But you also need to focus on what the specific aims and goals of the team are, and make sure that everyone in the team realises that achieving these goals will result in the team fulfilling its purpose. I am constantly amazed just how many team members are solely focused on their own roles, responsibilities and objectives without ever fully understanding how their role contributes to the overall team purpose and goals. It is important that all team members have clarity and understanding as regards their own roles, responsibilities, objectives and measures, but it is equally important that they realise how they fully contribute to the team's success. Having measures which focus on both individual and team success can certainly help to focus each team member on delivering for both themselves and the team. Where a team is composed of individuals solely focused on their own objectives can mean that mutual support is less than it should be and as a result overall team performance levels are not as high as they could be.
Step 3: Build Trust.
There is a vast amount of evidence that highlights the importance of trust in building resilient and high performing teams. There must be trust between the team members, trust between the team manager and the team members, and also trust between the team and its key stakeholders. Teams should take time to ensure they have full discussions around each team member's personal needs as to what behaviours and attitudes they personally have to experience in the team. Similarly, it is important that all expectations are managed across the team. Team managers will have expectations of the team members and team members will have expectations of the team manager. These should be discussed and agreed. Both the required needs and agreed expectations should form the 'core' of the team charter, and this formal document, when adhered to, will build trust quickly and effectively. Stakeholders should be identified and an engagement plan created so that these stakeholders can be positively and effectively engaged in order that they become trusting and consistent supporters of the team.
Step 4: Review Frequently.
Many teams unfortunately get trapped in the 'hamster wheel of task' and pay very little attention to continual review. The importance of review in ensuring increasing performance and enhanced resilience cannot be underestimated. A lot of teams will review their 'plan' and how they are progressing against it, and whilst this is good, many meetings will only take the form of an 'update' with little learning , sharing of success, and problem solving taking place. Performance reviews should be supportive and collaborative with the whole team pulling together to ensure everyone in the team is on track to hit their own individual performance objectives. A good team manager, who has cultivated an excellent team culture. will ensure that all review meetings are both constructive and motivational with all the team members looking forward to these meetings. Sadly, many team members do not look forward to performance review meetings as they are made to feel that they are simply there to 'justify their existence', with little constructive support taking place. Peer review meetings, run well, can be very powerful from a motivational perspective, and result in increased focus and performance across the team. In addition to reviewing performance, it is also important that the Team Charter and Team Development Plan are also reviewed although the frequency of review of these may be less than that of the overall team performance.
Step 5 - Learn and Develop as a Team.
Please don't simply rely on 'personal develop plans' for each individual team member. These are important as it is vital that individual team members continue to develop their knowledge and skills. You should strongly consider a Team Development Plan that covers both process and skills and knowledge required across the team. When teams learn and develop together, they not only build skills and knowledge, they can continue to build trust between them. So make sure your team has a team development plan that covers any 'gaps' in the PARTNERS™ process as well as any common aspects of the team members' individual development plans in respect to skills and knowledge. Also ensure that sharing of success is continually communicated and that where there are challenges that occur affecting the whole (or even part of the team) time is put aside for the whole team to work on these in order to get resolution of these challenges.
The PARTNERS™ process covers these 5 Steps and paying attention to these will ensure that putting the key team performance basics in place will build both resilience and performance. Failure to cover the basics may result in the team being stuck in the 'storming' phase and results could be mediocre at best.
If you would like to know more about our 'Resilient Partners' team development programme then simply direct message me through LinkedIn or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org . Alternatively call me on ++ 44 (0) 776 416 8989