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Team Effectiveness

Tis the season…for Teams to Practice Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a necessary Team skill

The Christmas season is the perfect time to think about Forgiveness. Forgiveness is the true meaning of Christmas and whether you celebrate the religious meaning behind Christmas and Hanukkah, or you celebrate the holiday as a family and work tradition, this is the perfect time as a team to reflect on forgiveness.

In my 30 years of working with teams I often spend time observing the interactions and dynamics of people working together. One of the least prevalent interactions I have witnessed is people on teams saying “I’m sorry” or “thanks for acknowledging that your interaction was hurtful. I forgive you”.

Interactive conflict at work is linked to absenteeism, lowered productivity, stress, physical and mental health issues. I have asked thousands of teams over the years these three questions “How often do you hear your team mates apologize?” “how often do you hear words of forgiveness?”and “are there missed opportunities?”. Almost always the three answers are “hardly ever”, “rarely” and “multiple times a day”.

The problem is that too many people are afraid to have these conversations, Their Ego won’t allow it or it is seen as a philosophical, psychological or religious principle that is “inappropriate” to discuss at work. Many organizations make it worse by using “safe” information against team members even though they preach open, safe, dialogue and even teach it!

In his book “Trusting You are Loved”, Epstein 1999 wrote: “We are by forgiving, in essence granting complete absolution and redemption. We relinquish the right to punish, cling to resentments, and hold grudges. We give ourselves and each other permission to move on, free of baggage and history, able to progress without the burdens of the past. Forgiveness fosters our wellbeing when we know that no matter what happens, we will forgive and be forgiven. In an environment of love and forgiveness, we thrive”.

If we fail to realize that by not openly forgiving our teammates for minor and major transgressions we pay a profound price. We lose, as a team, our ability to appreciate the strengths and awesome qualities of each other. Our discretionary effort is reduced, our health and wellness becomes threatened and we lose our ability to be fully present and focused on work issues. We then take this stress home with us and negatively inject this stress into those relationships and conversations. Many times people feel safer to vent their frustrations with people outside the team. This leads to distrust by others and questions about the teams ability to manage itself and its affairs.

So what can we do? Here are 6 proven strategies

1. Be the first. If no one on your team is practicing forgiveness, be the first. as people witness the power of forgiveness it grows in their hearts as well.

2. Create a team environment that is safe. Not feels safe, but is actually safe. A place where teammates are free to share and ask for help. Just one negative action by the leader can throw safety out the door.

3. Use Forgiving language and eye contact as a team. Look at each other and say things like “Thanks for letting me know”, “I understand”, “I apologize” “Thanks for talking with me about your concerns” “You are forgiven, no worries”.

4. Acknowledge anger and resentment but own your perceptions of the situation. Be respectful and use “I” statements. Separate facts from perceptions. Listen..

5. Make owning and forgiving a part of your teams discussions. When it is structured and practiced it becomes part of the teams culture “I need to apologize to Sara for not letting her know my progress on the work she needed” “I need to let the team know that I have had some resentments over how we made a decision and I would like to clear the air and move past them”

6. Team Development interventions. Sometimes the problems within the team can get out of hand and the team members no longer trust the intent of each other. Even a sincere apology can be filtered by mistrust and not believed. In these cases outside expertise can be very helpful. A good expert can help the team by being a neutral party with no agenda other than helping the team get un-stuck.

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Team Effectiveness

What are the benefits of working in teams?

What are the benefits of using teams as your primary structure for getting work done? Organizationally we know the highest performing teams with the highest quality results, do so while fulfilling many of the members basic as well as higher level human needs. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs applies to our whole lives including work. In my many years of learning, playing, working in and with teams, I have experienced the joys, the frustrations, and everything in between. We all know what teams can do when designed with the right members and right support. We also know what the costs are of our dysfunctional teams who are stuck with little hope of what magic might change the daily dredge on both the organization as well as the team members themselves.

Teams are worth the investment and there is science to prove it. We humans have worked in collaborative groups since the beginning of time. In a sense, teams are the reason we are all even still here on planet earth, credited as a key to the survival of our species. In this linked article https://www.atlassian.com/blog/teamwork/the-importance-of-teamwork Tracy Middleton shares 11 benefits of working in teams and some of the science to support it.

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Team Effectiveness

Habits of Highly Effective Teams

Practice these habits regularly for success!

Research has validated for us many realities of being human. How and why we respond to different stimulus in similar and categorically different ways can be predictably measured. Research on teams and collaboration has been a specific human dynamic that man has tried to understand since the beginning of time. The difficulty is that teams are constantly changing in membership, focus, process, motivation, reinforcement, qualities of relationships and so on. In the linked article written by Catarina Lino and Brad Desmond in Positive Psychology, the writers discuss 7 Habits that if practiced and made habits, consistently create highly effective teams. https://positivepsychology.com/psychology-teamwork/

1. Team Identity

2. Motivation

3. Emotional Awareness

4. Communication

5. Stress Tolerance

6. Conflict Resolution

7. Positive Mood

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Categories
Team Effectiveness

What Is Team Culture?

Creating strong, high performing teams at all levels of your organization is critical to success. Organizations can’t make progress without a strong culture of teamwork. Fostering a great team culture throughout your organization must be a part of your overall Organizations Culture strategy.

A Team culture is the shared values, practices and beliefs that guide the team members interactions with one another, other teams, their managers and customers both internal and external. Team culture refers to the behaviors and patterns of a team from which members develop shared meaning. It is about both shared aspirations as well as the processes to get there, both practical and personal. Within an existing Organizational Culture teams are made up of different combinations of people and have different dynamics, manifesting their own culture. 

Here are six ways you can create an extraordinary team culture:

1. Create a Team Charter

Teams must have a starting point, a compass by which the team gets its sense of meaning and community. The charter must answer : Why are we together, Mission and Objectives, Strategy and plans, Roles and Responsibilities, Accountability structure, Behavioral expectations and agreements.

2. Set Aside Informal Time For Your Team To Relate

Positive Relationships have a big impact on great team culture. It is ideal for team members to truly like and care about each other. This is difficult to achieve in a formal setting, but critical to collective goal accountability and true no fear open communication. The ability to be vulnerable with each other allows for more authentic conflict resolution which is critical to ongoing and long term team health.

3. Be a Trustworthy Leader

Positive relationship with the teams manager is always ranked tops by high performing teams. Emotional intelligence and the ability to be self-aware of how your behavior as a leader affects the dynamics of the team and your ability to manage those behaviors; both the utilization of positive behaviors as well as the reduction of team killing behaviors. Team members must not be afraid of approaching you and asking questions.

4. Promote A Culture of Learning and Development

Opportunities for learning and development contribute to team members job satisfaction. They feel valued as well as it strengthens the overall competence available to the team. Learning and development is also one of the most effective tools to help teams develop their effectiveness. This works best when teams develop and learn together using simulation, experience and review. Knowledge sharing between team members builds relationships as well as a sense of belonging and value.

5. Make Your Workplace Conducive To Teamwork

An important part of catalyzing a great team culture is having a physical environment where productive teamwork is possible. Teams need to have time together to plan, create, polish, and synergize. Research shows that while virtual teams can be successful, they do best when they have had face to face time and use technology to collaborate. Sitting together and creating collaborative work spaces facilitates relationships between team members .

6. Celebrate Accomplishments

Part of a great team culture is a culture where team members take the time to celebrate their work, each other, and the blessings of working with others towards purposeful contributions. This should be a regular agenda item at team meetings.

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Uncategorized

Why is Teamwork so Challenging?

Most of us work in teams or at least work environments that call for high levels of collaboration. Hopefully you have experienced success in teams but no doubt you also have experienced the challenges. Why can working in teams be such a challenge at times? in a 2016 Harvard Business Review titled “Collaboration overload”, Researchers found that there has been a 50% plus increase in collaborative activity in our work over the past decade. With this increase comes a new set of skills and conditions necessary to be successful. Teamwork has gotten more complex with people working on multiple teams at once with sometimes very different focus and different members. Trust is the foundation of effective teamwork and is often left to chance, as with all of our relationships trust must be worked on and discussed in order to create and maintain it. How we create, kickoff, and maintain our teams is critical to long term success and overall team member engagement. In the attached article Bev Attfield talks about 5 common Challenges teams face in todays work environment. https://blog.jostle.me/blog/5-challenges-of-teamwork-and-how-to-overcome-them

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