When managing a team we have to be very careful to assume we have a great team or that were building a great team without some very specific imperatives.So often managers will nebulous lead describe how people need to act as good teammates or be a part of the team but what does that exactly mean and that leads us to our steps:
- Define your team and its attributes specifically - Think about all the things that encompass a good team such as communication, are they to be reactive or proactive and in what time frame, what is the ideal interaction teammate should have with one another, etc.?
- Define what being a good teammate is and the behaviors and attributes that specifically represent that - What are the specific behaviors or skills each team member must possess? How should the interact with one another and what should each employee demonstrate in terms of communication capacity, active listening, thoughtful reaction in terms of email communication, etc.?
- Utilize the team definition and teammate attributes to drive group coaching activities - Let's say one of the attributes of the team is to be proactive cooperatively together in terms of working with customers. One of the best things we can do is to present case studies that our employees will face every single day and then ultimately challenge them to come up with solutions that represent the ability to be proactive. Doing this in a group setting facilitates awareness and constant reinforcement of the team definition.
- Utilize the team definition and teammate attributes to drive individual coaching activities - Let's say one of the attributes each individual must possess is the ability to thoughtfully and actively listen to one another. If you have an employee who may struggle in this area is vital a manager specifically works on this skill and behavioral attribute to ensure one day active listening becomes a consistent trait. Without doing this this lack of active listening may seem trivial but can lead to miscommunication and poor interpersonal relationships within the team framework.
The ultimate objective of this post in terms of its message is you cannot coach or develop what you cannot define. Often when I asked managers what is your definition or specific expectations that you have written down for your team and what a good teammate is I have rarely if ever had a manager respond successfully. This is not a bad thing actually this represents a unique opportunity.
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