Team building and team development are two different entities. Team building is focused on establishing a model and systems that support the function of the team. Team Development addresses ‘relationship development’ with the focus on ‘who’ the team is and not ‘what’ the team is about (function). As more and more businesses are seeing the value of collaborative work, they are supporting forming teams. I find there is a need for learning how to ‘be’ in collaborative relationships in a healthy, functional way that supports success and growth.
Think of a newly forming ‘group of relationships’ (team) as the DRIVER of the CAR. You would not put a driver in a car without making sure that they are trained, know the rules of the road, are aware and tuned in to potential roadblocks and have a clear sense of destination.
The newly forming team (as DRIVER):
- The rules of road include values and purpose. Being clear on what each team member sees as the ‘importance’ of being together (value), and the motivating force behind forming a team (purpose) is imperative to safe navigating!
- Being aware and tuned in to potential roadblocks would include an understanding of each other as individuals and what you bring to the team in terms of strengths and values. The ‘in-common’ values form the ‘culture’ of the team.
- Having a clear sense of destination is the internal vision of the team-where do they want to end up when they are ready to complete the ‘relationship’ trip?
So read on to help you establish the rules of the road and learn how to become aware and tuned into potential roadblocks that would keep you from navigating safe travels to your teams’ destination.
In establishing new relationships, the health of the relationship is directly proportional to each individual having their voice and articulating what is important to them. It is often said that there is no ‘I’ in team, however I believe and research shows that if the ‘I’ in the individual voice is not recognized when in the forming stage of team development, healthy, functional relationships will get lost to ‘group think’-where the loudest voice gets heard and others follow blindly.
Getting clear on the individual voices and then working toward the ‘in-common’ team values gives the newly forming relationships a unity to work from when challenges arise. As a group, they can go back to ‘What’s important to us as a group? What value do we need to honor here?’
There are many ways to glean values. Paying attention to when the discord shows up is the time to ask what is important to the individual in this that discord is being created. If you can focus on the ‘value’ rather than the discord, you can move through conflict with a more positive outcome-identified values.
SKILLS FOR LEADERS
The most important skill for a leader to have at the forming stage of team development is to support the team in living out their stated values. Culture is created by stated and lived values. A leader needs to be the ‘holder’ of the culture until the team has opportunity to get rooted in their values.
What does this mean exactly? What is the difference between a stated and lived value? If an organization states that they value diversity, yet whenever someone speaks against the tide or comes up with a different way to do things, they balk-is that living the value of diversity? If an organization says it values empowerment, yet the C-Suite micromanages everything, is the organization living the value of empowerment? On the other hand, if an organization says they value connection and they provide numerous opportunities for community (special dinners, festivals, employee day, etc.) they are living their stated value.
In all these examples, a culture is born! It may be highly functional or dysfunctional- either way it is derived from stated/lived values. Of course, the highest and best organizations state and live their values by creating a culture that has resonance with them.
Coaching is all about supporting others in purposefulness toward what they want for themselves. Part of the process of the coaching relationship is helping clients find clarity on their purpose. Coaches do this through the question asking process.
- What do you see as the purpose of this team?
- How do you see yourself contributing through your strengths?
Being purposeful is all about setting intention. The clearer the intention the clearer you will be when you are ‘off purpose.’ When that happens, and it will, being coach like means approaching the ‘off course’ with the question asking process rather than getting lost in the blame game. As a team practicing this approach, you will save time and energy while getting back on purpose and as a result, will be setting course to becoming a high performing team and reaching your designation more effectively and efficiently.