Team Building & Leadership

What are the right action steps to take for a successful team? I have been pondering this question for several weeks now. Is it logistics, Fishbone charts, 8D Problem Solving, 6 Sigma Projects, training programs, Gen x workers Gen y workers – millennials, baby boomers etc…

Are you prepared for a successful team – many people and leaders say yes and do not mean it. A team with success is also a team with failures – many – many failures. A team with success also has challenges – many – many – many challenges. A team with success has conflict – lots – lots – lots of conflicts. A team with success is honest and trusting – the leadership & team members share all that is going on with the team.

With all these successful team ideas, it is scary for a leadership team to accept failure (they may look like they cannot lead within the team! Although who do they look bad to? Themselves – their peers? – their families? – other team members?)

Accepting and encouraging failure is a skill that is not taught and rarely incorporated into our LOP or SOPs. Without the fear of failure in our teams, we also lose the joy of success.

Conflict is one of the scariest words I use – conflict itself has conflict all over it. I encourage you to see conflict (not character assassination, belittlement, and bullying). How often do you and your teams have a meeting or training and the people are all polite to each other, and you can feel the tension in the room. The water cooler talk starts once the team is out of the meeting, “can you believe s/he said that s/he is always kissing up? I do not agree with any of those statements! I would have said something, but my ideas are never listened to. I should have her job, and he only is there because he plays golf with the CEO.

These internal feelings of restlessness cause resentment and bleed into work habits. Take a moment and think about conflicts you have been a part of – what caused them? How were they resolved? Do you still feel scorned? How did this affect your work?

To have a successful team great team, you must be able to work and “raise” the feeling of resentment that the team is feeling. A system of rewards for team success – the solution is inside of me as a team member.

This comes back to honesty. The team must feel aware of what is going on – this is challenging when in our past behaviors, the person with the information is in power, and employees should know as little as possible. We may feel that we are honest in our information. When was the last time you asked your team if they thought you were honest, and you felt that they were honest with you (whether you are a team leader or not)?

I remember working in a place some time ago – where everything was kept top secret. We never had any meetings, and the staff was discouraged from talking to each other. The manager distrusted everyone and let the team members know this because he would talk about you to other team members and say that you could not be trusted. This behavior caused the employees to act deceitfully – steal, lie on their time cards, come to work drunk, leave early, talk bad about the boss, and live in fear of getting fired every day. I am glad I am no longer working there.

The point of this article is to inspire thought – we as teams and team members know what it is to be successful. We know how to love each other and be honest – what is it in each of us that causes negative behaviors – I say it is negative environments with an inward spinning doom loop of asphyxiation.

Encourage teams to change direction to a positive oscillation of success – find what is working and do more of it.