June 1, 2009 by Ruth Gmehlin, Partner, Trillium Teams Inc
You know that good teamwork and team building skills are critical for your effectiveness at work, whether you are a manager, an employee, the CEO or an entrepreneur, but how often do you consciously work on these? As things slow down over the summer, take the time to check in with your team and evaluate if the individual and the team needs are being met before projects get into full swing again in September.
We always start our workshops with the caveat that team building is not a one day event, instead it is an ongoing, day-to-day activity - essentially a never ending process. Like any relationship, it takes conscious attention and some work. There absolutely needs to be a team mindset set by the leader, and aligned with the culture of the work environment. Therefore, as a quick check-in and keeping team building up front and centre, take a quick poll and ask your team the following three simple questions. The answers can be a discussion topic at your next team meeting – you’d be amazed how simple and effective this little exercise can be.
Does everyone understand the team goals? That means that everyone knows, in detail, what the end product for this team's achievement is. This can be one specific goal for a short-term team; or a long-term broader goal for the team.
Clear Individual Roles & Responsibilities
Does everyone understand their role in achieving the team goals? People need to know what to do, and how it applies to the big picture.
Clear Team Roles & Responsibilities
Does everyone know their teammates’ roles in achieving the team goals? This is what creates the team. People should know who to ask for information and be able to look out for each other.
The most effective team building we have seen occurs when team members’ goals are in alignment with each other, the teams’ objectives, and people are enthused and interactive on a daily basis, and working towards achieving these goals together. Getting to know one another better is accomplished best by being intensively involved with each other and building the team experience together.
In closing, the questions seem simple. The answers seem logical, but we all know that simple is not necessarily easy. These three questions are not revolutionary, but because we are all creatures of habit, it’s always good to get a little reminder. Take the time to ask your team these questions and then take the time to listen openly to others’ feedback. Open communication with your team should be your priority this summer and it will keep everyone on track, and set you up for success this fall!