By Qaiser Abbas (Author of best-selling book ‘ Tick Tick Dollar’)
All team leaders expect heroic results from their teams. Teams are anticipated to perform at a peak level in a variety of situations and conditions. Teams are created with the objective to speed up goal achievement. We hope that our teams will deliver desired results in an efficient manner. Whether you are a CEO or a leader of your business unit, you too want your team to succeed at the challenges in hand.
Teams are not simple. Teamwork is not a one-time thing. Today’s brilliant performance does not promise a glittering victory for the team in the future. Would you like to know the reason? Teams are fluid; teams do not remain the same; team work is not automatic; team spirit is not constant; team bond is not immortal. That is the reason why high-performing teams slide down from the victory stand whether in sports or business.
Bringing a high performing team back on track is critical for leaders. As a team-building trainer, I use a range of tools to help leaders achieve this objective. The most effective approach has been to sensitize leaders about certain behaviors that cause teams to slip. The process encourages teams (including leaders) to make a strong commitment to ‘SAY NO’ to different behaviors, attitudes and actions damaging the overall productivity and performance of the team.
Team leaders are asked for taking personal responsibility to cultivate a climate of trust, confidence, and openness that once again leads teams to the achievement of supercilious goals. If your goal is the same, following steps can guide you through the journey.
1. No Tolerance for Disrespect
Nothing can damage teams more than an environment surrounded by disrespect for individuals working in a team. People can compromise on less money and benefits but not on less respect. Team disruption can easily take place when individual members have complaints about others not showing deference towards them. Therefore, it is awfully crucial for the leader to ensure a team atmosphere that guarantees mutual respect and regard. In outclass teams, members can disagree, fight and even exchange feelings that hurt but they never let somebody show disrespect to their team members.
2. No Back Biting
I call it a team-killer. A way to damage team spirit is to convince members about backbiting. It is a proven method to wipe out a sense of belongingness in a team. Negative discussions and information exchange about those who are absent with irrelevant people result in further misunderstandings and conflicts. Meetings in the parking lot, cafeterias and health clubs provide an easy platform for backbiters to poison team spirit. These backbiters later on become backstabbers for their own team members.
If leaders sincerely wish their teams to be high-performing; they need to facilitate a culture of honest and open communication between members.
3 No Blame Game
Blame-game is the favorite sport of ineffective teams. Instead of taking responsibility of their actions and behaviors, members enjoy putting the blame on someone else’s shoulders. This surly gives teams a temporary relief but injures performance in the longer run.
The antidote to blaming is accountability. Why members chose blaming over accountability? Because when we take us to accountability; we have to embrace some pain. As human beings; we want to avoid pain at every cost. Therefore, blaming others emerges as an easy way out. If teams continue to blame each other for their lack of performance, a big disaster is waiting for them.
Stop blaming, take responsibility.
3. No Mocking or Shouting
Leaders can not afford to let anyone shout at other team members. Shouting is a sign of ignorance. When teams have answers they feel no need to shout. Teams should understand that the loudest voice may not be the wisest voice. Sarcastic remarks will only produce enmity between members. Enmity should be replaced with enormity; of ideas, reverence, performance and purpose.
4. No Personal Attacks
Teams are supposed to separate their egos from the professional job in hand. However, with no trouble, members slip into personal stuff during meetings organized to discuss professional matters. Personal attack in a team setting is synonymous to slaughtering an individual’s team bond. Whether privately or in public, attacking others directly does not help teams achieve common goals.
I have noticed that even leaders sometimes start attacking their people without any prudent reason. I suggest leaders to hold on to their anger, stay calm and instead of attacking choose to coach and counsel people.
5. No Burdens of the Past
Successful teams and leaders do not get stuck in the past. Commit yourself for no looking back to search each other’s weaknesses and putting others in a discomfited situation. Past is history; we cannot edit it; change it; modify it; hide it; but at least we can learn from it.
One reason for team failure is the members’ unwillingness to forget the negativity, anger, and pain associated with the past. How can you allow your history devastate your future?
Building and sustaining teams is a tough job. Teams do not come together effortlessly. Leaders have to invest time, effort and energy to bring the best in teams. One way of achieving this hard task is to develop the sensitivity to consistently say NO to the above behaviors. Saying NO to these undesirable acts will prepare you to demonstrate strong willingness to say YES to a long lasting team success.