Ask Skip: What Are Some Specific Tips to Improve Teamwork in the Workplace?

This question comes directly from a blog subscriber who has been reading my articles on teamwork the past couple of weeks. He thought the article last week (A Simple Step to Improve Teamwork at Your Workplace) offering one very specific tip to improve teamwork was a good one but was looking for more, so here are 5 more:

  1. Create an inspiring vision for the team objectives – Athletic teams are focused on getting to the “Championship Game.” In professional football its the “Super Bowl” in the United States. For international futbol, it’s the “World Cup Final.” For Major League Baseball, it’s the “World Series.”  What is it for your team? How can you define it in a way that inspires everyone to want to contribute at the highest level to help fulfill that vision?
  2. Set clear expectations at the very beginning – Let everyone know when they join the team what is expected of them regarding working as a team. As mentioned in last week’s article make it part of their performance expectations and performance review when appraisal time comes around. What gets measured gets done.
  3. Create a “Team Agreement” – Part of setting the clear expectations at the beginning should also include facilitating a process through which the team itself can create its own accountabilities and performance expectations for how they promise to interact with each other. One client in 2011 told me that having the team participate in creating this type of document, which all team members signed when it was complete, actually had team members regulating themselves and holding themselves accountable to acting consistent with what they agreed to. It can be a very powerful process for building a high-performing team.
  4. Address issues promptly, directly and respectfully – One of the biggest things that kills trust on teams is issues that are allowed to go on unaddressed. Team leaders will often let things fester, wishing and hoping they get better on their own, and they usually only get worse. The best leaders and individual team members have the self-esteem, the self-confidence and the communication skills to address issues promptly, directly and respectfully. I wrote extensively about the biggest communication mistakes in my white paper The 7 Deadliest Sins of Leadership & Workplace Communication (you can grab a FREE copy here).
  5. Apply the “Trading Deadlie” – If, after consistently applying the 4 steps above, team members are still not contributing to the level you need, then you must apply the “Trading Deadline” strategy. This is a metaphor based on what most professional sports leagues require a few weeks prior to the end of their regular season so teams can set their rosters for the post season playoffs. It is when team that believe they are contenders for the championship make changes to their roster and trade or release players who have not been a good fit and replace them with players they believe will be a better fit for their team.

So, those are 5 more specific tips to help you create a high-performing team at your workplace. If you have other specific questions I encourage you to join me at 12noon Eastern Time this Thursday, April 26th for a FREE Laser Coaching Webinar – during this webinar I will be taking your questions directly and doing Laser Coaching to give you a specific, direct solution you can apply to your specific issue.

You can register FREE

’til next time, make it a great week!

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