What Kind of Team Do You Want?

“I admit that I shouldn’t have said anything about him behind his back, but come on!  Don’t most leaders say things about others that they shouldn’t say?”

Jackie stared at me hoping to see in my eyes the affirmation that what she had done was, after all, not all that unusual. I wanted to be encouraging, but I also knew that a big part of the problem on this team was that they had a lot of meetings ABOUT each other and not nearly enough meetings WITH each other.

What would you have said?

Teams are here to stay.  The need for collaboration, cooperation, and coordination has never been greater, and that’s not going to change any time soon.  However, many teams are so dysfunctional that the very concept that should propel an organization forward to success has become more like an anchor that has the ship stuck in the harbor.  We need high performance teams.  Yet, for many leaders, the secret to leading successful teams seems to be just that—a dark secret that they cannot unlock.

The book, The Orange Revolution, gives three practices for teams to follow.

  1. WOW! Each Other First”— Individually, these team members strive for excellence, but there is such a strong camaraderie on the team that they are motivated to be the best at their job for the sake of the team first.  They truly have a “Team First” attitude.  Teach your team to “Help the Helper” and cultivate a quest for excellence for each other.
  1. “No Surprises!”— Great teams practice the habit of intentional redundancy with each other.  They over-communicate with each other.  In most teams that I work with, there are hurt feelings, and 90% of the time, it’s because someone neglected to keep another person informed.  Great teams treat each other like leaders, and one thing I know about leaders is this: “Leaders Don’t Like Surprises!”
  1. “Cheer With and For Each Other”— The truth is that no one likes to go to work in a place every day where people complain at you all the time.  That’s not the kind of culture that fosters greatness.  So, great teams build each other’s confidence by cheering for each other; and because they have a common goal that is greater than their individual goals, they cheer with each other when they hit their goals.

Back to Jackie.  I looked back at Jackie and gently said, “Yes, most leaders do talk behind people’s back, but the great ones never do.  What kind of leader do you want to be?”

Great teams do things that average teams don’t. My question to you is, “What kind of team do you want to be?”

Mike Mowery

Written by:
Mike Mowery
Director of Leadership Development, Strategic Government Resources

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