Turn Your Organization Into a Team

We often refer to groups, organizations etc as our “team”, but are they really a team? Teams need dedication and training. Here are some ideas to focus on when turning your group of peers into a functioning team.

Train, study and train, prepare, and train thoroughly, endlessly.

Strive to maintain individual stability and unit integrity; keep the same leader as long as possible if they’re getting the job done. Needless changes disrupt teamwork.

Emphasize use of the “buddy” system.

Never publicly blame an individual for the team’s failure nor praise one individual for the team’s success.

Provide the best available facilities for training and make maximum use of teamwork.

Ensure that all training is meaningful, and that its purpose is clear to all members of the staff.

Acquaint each individual of your staff with the capabilities and limitations of others, thereby developing mutual trust and understanding.

Base team training on realistic, current, and probable conditions.

Insist that everyone understands the functions of the other members of the team and how the team functions as a part of the whole.

Your Team Doesn’t Need a Parent

The new workplace is more fluid and job titles are becoming less important. Many of today’s employees seek interesting projects with meaningful problems to solve. They want meaningful work and not just titles.

One major change in organizations is that in these new types of project-oriented spaces, teams do more and more without first seeking approval from those who are above them. People in non-management positions are acting and thinking more like traditional leaders.
And in many organizations, this is exactly the kind of team member that is wanted. Those who are problem solvers that can work with varied peer groups, keep themselves organized and on task and move forward on their own with confidence. Essentially being their own boss.

So, if organizations are looking for this kind of team member and the traditional “nanny” type manager is no longer needed, what is the role of the leader in this new world?
Simply put, you should be there to share your experience. You are the extra cog, the extra ball bearing. A floater. Someone with confidence and experience who can transition from one part of a project to another to help where help is needed. Leaders are now the support staff—not to say you should be making copies and bringing some one coffee (though maybe sometimes that is the most useful thing you could be doing for your team), but you are there as the multi-tool.

Imagine being this kind of leader who trusts his team members to do their jobs and doesn’t “helicopter-parent” yet drops in on a parachute with a light touch and a wisdom based suggestion just when the team needs it.

You work for a company not a family

How many times have you heard employers describe their company as a “family?” This simply is not so. They want you to have that fuzzy feeling of belonging and that is the relationship that comes to mind.

In a Harvard Business Review blog post, Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha, and Chris Yeh expound on the idea that you should be described as a “team” not a family. In a family, you do not fire your children for underperforming. When a CEO invokes the “family” word and then fires someone, it brings a lot of feelings of hurt and betrayal.

The article goes on to explain how sports teams can work so well together and how to bring that to the work relationship. Read the full article.

Jody Victor