Recently, my colleagues and I were engaging each other around our beliefs about team development. The Bailey Group has helped numerous teams “develop” over the years, but what does that really mean for our clients? How do you determine if you have a good team? And if improvement is needed, what do the leaders of teams do?
First, all teams are supposed to do two things if they are successful or (for lack of another word) “good”:
- They get things done. They determine strategies, they make plans and they deliver quality outcomes.
- They form interpersonal relationships that enable things to get done, rather than create barriers, diminish the outcomes or leave “bodies” in the wake.
Simple enough. Yet to do these things requires many different skills and contributions from every single member of that team.
To get things done, teams need to have clear vision/purpose, strategies, goals and roles/processes. Not only do these things need to be formed early on (some call this creating the team charter), they need to be revisited as the team matures.
Forming effective interpersonal relationships requires each individual to possess a high degree of self-awareness and self-management, as well as an ability to understand others and manage relationships. Some call these skills “emotional intelligence.”
Team members also need skills in listening, communicating effectively, conflict management and decision-making. The list goes on.
What is true is that NO single team member or leader possesses all of these things. And depending on how carefully and planfully the team is put together, sometimes a number of these skills don’t exist in ANY team member or leader of a team. That puts team success at risk.
Exceptional leaders know what makes good teams. They are purposeful about putting members on the team who can accomplish what needs doing AND who can interact with others skillfully enough to enable safety and trust, which leads to quality results.
Exceptional leaders also periodically take time to assess how their existing teams are doing and identify WITH their team members what could be better. Then they hold each other accountable, not just for results, but for improvements in emotional intelligence skills.
Developing teams is complex, non-linear, iterative, and frankly, very difficult without experience and partners to help evaluate and improve leadership and the entire team. We at The Bailey Group LOVE to do this! Send me an email if you’d like to learn more.