Are you an effective team? Part 1:Trust

Team member falling backwards into arms of team members

I recently watched the film “Oblivion” in which the question was regularly asked throughout; “Are you an effective team?” and this got me thinking; what constitutes an effective team and how can I, as a leader and manager, contribute positively in making this a reality in my work place? As a leader and manager, I believe it is my responsibility to ensure I am continually growing and developing myself; and in leading by example, I expect the same from my team, facilitating this where possible.  In undertaking a “Strengths Based Leadership” assessment (Gallop); the output identified that team’s want and need the following traits above all from their leaders: Trust, Compassion, Stability and Hope.  Over the following few weeks I aim to produce a number of short articles addressing each these areas in brief with a view to identify, encourage and challenge both managers and leaders to meet these base needs.

An effective team is a trusting team:

Would your team say they identify the below in you?

The only constant is change:

Generally, the largest area of impact on a team’s trust is change.  As leaders, responsible for identifying change and casting the vision, and as managers, responsible for the day to day handling and processing of those changes, one of our primary objectives is ‘driving change whilst maintaining trust’. In my experience, a key to managing this effectively is through regular, open communication:

Transparency and openness:

  • Advise in advance:
  • As much as possible, Identify why, how and when things are going to change and inform your team at the earliest given opportunity;
  • Provide them knowledge of the bigger picture; this can really add impetus and can help people grasp the concept more effectively.
  • If in doubt, found out!
  • It’s OK to not know everything!  If your team ask something you’re unsure about, come clean (They’ll only find out in the long run!); furthermore, make a point of coming back to them, even if it’s just to let them know you are still searching for answers!

Regular genuine feedback:

  • As a team:
  • Pulling the team together to clearly articulate and discuss changes can often assist them in rallying around each other, increasing their confidence and helping to produce substantial benefits; presenting the opportunity for individuals to air any concerns or ideas in an encouraging group environment, often results in the team working more cohesively and encourages buy-in.
  • In 1-2-1 sessions:
  • It’s important to recognise  team members who may feel intimidated in a group setting and invite them to speak openly in a more intimate environment; facilitating regularly 1-2-1 meetings helps to reiterate and ensure team buy-in and ownership.
  • If, during these sessions, you need to feedback on any negative issues; make it a two-way process. In my experience, even if you know something exists which needs to be addressed, prompt them to examine and try to identify this for themselves; this often helps smooth the transition required for them to change.  Be honest, even when uncomfortable; help them get past their discomfort to a place of improvement.

One last note, if you have a meeting…minute it, even 1-2-1 sessions with staff; If something is agreed, make sure it gets put into writing.

“If a meeting isn’t minuted, it didn’t happen!”

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