Actively mould your team’s culture into the one you want; if you don’t then one you don’t want will form anyway.
My recent blog post pointed out 3 warning signs that your team may have an unhealthy culture: no listening, unhealthy conflict and unhelpful team members.
Teams need rules of engagement if they want to continue to avoid these negative behaviours and enjoy lasting success. Building on the last blog post, I strongly urge you to create a simple team charter that sets out how the team will work.
A team charter could be seen as abstract or wishy-washy by team members, especially the more cynical ones. And yes, there is a risk that it's a ‘nice’ thing to do but has no real value. To overcome these criticisms, here are 7 steps to ensure your team charter is a meaningful and useful tool to help create and maintain a healthy culture in your new or established team:
Reg Friddle of Preferred Future is a qualified coach who uses a range of powerful and engaging activities and workshops to help teams improve culture, performance and measurable results.
In your team, do team members listen to each other and ensure that everyone’s views are heard? Do you all work together, helping each other out in an urgent situation?
Team culture is a composite of the spoken and unspoken ways that team members communicate, engage and understand each other. Some of these ways can be invisible but you can sense that they’re there. Understanding your team’s cultural norms – and making improvements where necessary – is one of the most important factors that drive team performance. Here are 3 signs that your team needs to pay attention to its culture.
1. Listening isn’t happening
During team meetings the most vocal or the most opinionated get heard and the quieter ones get drowned out. On projects or team tasks some people dominate and don’t listen to others’ views.
Active, respectful and concentrated listening is the hallmark of teams with healthy cultures. Listening requires asking good, curious, open questions that allow others the space and time to voice their thoughts and creativity. It also requires you to remain silent when others speak. Explore the potential of other team members by asking them what they think and really listen to their answers.
2. There’s rumbling, low-lying conflict When team members openly disagree, dig their heels in or become obstinate then there is an unhealthy team culture. When they disregard the thoughts of others or even worse, put them down in front of stakeholders or clients then the team is dysfunctional.
Now, it’s great when team members disagree with each other; not to win an argument but to push forward the boundaries of their ideas and expand their thinking. I’m all for this type of conflict. It just needs to be well-intentioned disagreement which is entered into with the goal of better outcomes in mind. Teams should agree conflict norms which allow them to productively disagree in a managed, thoughtful and adult way. Doing this will enhance the quantity and quality of your team’s performance outputs.
3.Dig-outs don’t happen
Dig-outs mean times when team members help their team mates who are struggling under too much work or time pressures. Are you and your team members aware when others are struggling and need a hand? Do you check-in with each other formally during team meetings and on an ad hoc basis to see who’s got a lot on and offer them some practical support?
If this isn’t happening, why not and what can you do about it? This is an easy one to improve, you just need to walk up to a colleague who seems to be stressed or under pressure and ask them if they need help. And then help them!
Avoid these 3 team culture pitfalls by constantly thinking about how you contribute to a positive or negative team environment. You can start to create and maintain the team culture you want in every conversation or interaction you have with your team members.
Notice your talent before they leave you behind – 3 ideas to harness the potential of your talented people
Question: What happens if you don’t pay attention to your talented people?
Answer: They eventually stop paying attention to you.
But how do you connect more effectively with your employees to identify and grow your talent? Through years of coaching individuals at every level in many different industries, I’ve used many ways to harness individual potential. Here are my top 3 key things that can help you to maximise the talent in your organisation:
One-to-one coaching conversations with all your direct reports must be conducted regularly – at least once a month. One-to-ones need be no longer than 20 minutes but this investment can pay you back many times over as you build a trusting, supporting and challenging relationship with each person in your team. These sessions give you both the time and space to talk about ongoing performance, give and receive feedback and talk about career plans and development/ training pathways to help them achieve these plans.
When coaching your people, don’t give them all the answers. Get them to find out for themselves. Get them to create their own plans. Where appropriate, give them opportunities to try out new things. Check-in to see how they’re getting on but most of the time get out of their way. Their skills will grow but more importantly they’ll become more rounded performers with a wider skill set and they will grow in confidence - the key element for any team member who wants to be in a talent pipeline. They own their own development and growth within your business; you must enable the process.
3.Bond them as a team
Talent exists in lots of different shapes and forms – every person in your team and organisation has talent. Organising team-based events - offsite preferably – gives you and your team members the time and space to look strategically at the spread of strengths, skills and talents across the team. Incorporating a simply psychometric like MBTI® or Insights Discovery® can add massive value to your talent conversations by providing a deeper level of honesty and appreciation of each team member’s unique talents and abilities.
To foster a talent-focused culture in your business and across your teams adopt the leadership style of a career coach. It’s an approach where you must invest in your skills to coach effectively, carve out the time to meet your people regularly and build team cohesion. But the return on your investment, in terms of a more engaged workforce and a motivated and skilled talent pool will outweigh your investment significantly.
About Reg Friddle — Reg Friddle works with a wide range of large and small companies to help them improve the performance of their people. He is an award-winning corporate training, coaching and team building specialist. The Mission of his company, Preferred Future, is to provide the highest quality team building, training and coaching linked to measurable results which improve performance, productivity and profits.
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