Part Four - 4 Essential Elements for Teamwork

Team-Trust-WEBThis is the fourth and final part of a four part series.

Teamwork or rather high performing teamwork is a much coveted attribute in any business with more than one employee. The need for good teamwork can be by two people, a department, between departments, city wide, nationally and even globally. We hear managers lament, “Why can’t we just get along.” or the ever popular, “If people would just talk things out, everything would be OK.”

Excellent teamwork involves more than just going on the annual retreat, holding hands and singing Kumbaya. There are four elements need to be in place to encourage strong team functionality

Surrendering Control

Trust is a highly desirable commodity in high performing teams. Having trust is not only something the manager of the team needs to possess. Trust is also a much needed element among team members. Those among us who are what often referred to as “control freaks” have the most difficulty with trust.

Trust is the ability to surrender control of a given situation. Managers and team members alike must have the ability to be comfortable in surrendering control even when a great portion of the responsibility for a successful project rests in the hands of others.

Micromanagers are not successful in surrendering control. Teammates who “bug” other team members about where they are on a project, how much has been completed and when they will be finished with their part of the project are not helping to move the project forward, neither is it helpful in building a sense of trust. How can teams, departments and even entire organizations achieve a high level of trust?

In the beginning, it is a matter of hiring the right people. It is not enough just to match talent and skills to tasks. People must be accountable. Ensuring you are hiring people on your team who have a high level of accountability can be accomplished through the use of assessments and follow through on references. If you already have a team in place, there are several others processes that can make a difference in people being accountable.

Provide personal accountability training. This helps keep everyone aware that personal accountability is a company value. In addition, regular training helps embed this value in the organizational culture.

Implement a peer feedback program whereby peers may give anonymous feedback to other team members. This one could be tricky, so the feedback must be monitored for anything inappropriate. This type of peer feedback is probably best done by a 360 instrument.

Be clear about expectations. Oftentimes, managers fail to outline their expectations for team members and rarely are team members allowed to express their expectations. Agenda items such as accountability and decision making should be articulated clearly and succinctly by and for everyone. Allowing team members input into their own team functions, process and procedures also helps build trust, commitment and accountability.

As you can see, surrendering control does not mean a lack of initiative or being passive. Rather it helps all team members to focus on what they do best using their own individual talents in ways that best benefits them, the team, the project and the organization. This is what creates both high performing teams and individuals.

Previous: Relating to Others; Sense of Belonging and Sensitivity to Others

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