Friday, July 27, 2012

It Takes Time to Build a Strong Team



It Takes Time to Build a Strong Team

Dysfunctional relationships on teams create factions and disharmony which will slow any team in its work objectives. Here are five steps your team can take to build strength in relationships and achieve their desired goals.
1. Good relationships build strong teams over time. "The glue that holds all relationships together - including the relationship between the leader and the led is trust, and trust is based on integrity." - Brian Tracy. Most meaningful things in life take time to build. Integrity must be demonstrated multiple times before trust evolves. The larger the group, the longer it takes. If two or three people form your team, you can learn about your teammates fairly quickly because your interactions are more frequent. Integrity will or won't be demonstrated rapidly. With five or ten teammates, it can take a significant period of time for all of them to come together. Relationships with integrity and trust still take time to build and become strong.
2. Practice the patience plan. "Never cut what you can untie." - Joseph Joubert. Developing patience requires you to appreciate how other people think. Every person believes their situation is different, their problems are bigger and their faults are not impactful. In other words each of us thinks our circumstances deserve special thoughtfulness and our teammates should be more patient with us. To overcome this we must turn the tables. When we put ourselves in the other person's place, it makes it easier to untie issues instead of emotionally cutting our teammate.
3. Recognize your teammates have and will create problems. "A relationship, I think, is like a shark, you know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies." - Woody Allen. Your teammates will be the source of your greatest joy at work and your greatest distress. Top executives spend seven out of eight hours in a day dealing with the complexity of people problems. In moving your team forward keep in mind it involves positive and negative relationship issues. You don't get to enjoy only the good without the bad. Every teammate has weaknesses they don't see, poor work habits and personal issues. Give your teammates the same grace you would like to receive for your deficiencies and keep your relationships moving forward.
4. Understand where you create a need for patience in others. "Before you try to change others, remember how hard it is to change yourself."- Bill Bluestein. It is important for us to know our own shortcomings. Ask someone close to you to list a few of the areas where they see a need for patience with you. Accept the list and don't be defensive. You don't have to agree with the entire list, but recognize it is how you are perceived. It is the things you say and do. The key for your growth is to look behind the list and ponder if it represents who you are. If you are perceived as gruff, but don't believe yourself to be so then you need to work on the perception. If you realize you truly are angry, you must work on the source. By keeping in mind others are exercising patience with you, it helps you remember to be patient with teammates.
5. Recognize all relationships create opportunities. "Little kindness and courtesies are so important. In relationships, the little things are the big things." - Stephen Covey.
Initiate positive action with your team and the teammates closest to you. Offer these four things to grow opportunity.
·         Support. Allow teammates to lead and demonstrate their ideas. Assist them when it is needed, but never in a condescending manner.
·         Mentor. Be an example. Answer their questions, but give direction only when it is genuinely needed.
·         Appreciation. Respect their ideas and listen. Never undermine their efforts through criticism.
·         Repayment. Make sure you have closed the loop on the Golden Rule. Payback their efforts and kindness toward you.
Here's the bottom line when it come to building a team. If you travel alone, you can probably go faster. Every journey requires patience. But taking these concrete steps will help build a strong team around you and carry the entire team forward in their careers.
Richard Highsmith, rick@qualityteambuilding.com, is President of Quality Team Building. He has twenty-five years experience training and coaching. He has built and sold two successful businesses. To learn more about becoming a team leader visit our website at http://www.qualityteambuilding.com or call Rick toll-free at 1-888-484-8326 X101.