Teams are like a woods.
A healthy woods (team) has a variety of species who grow in their strength; the environment encourages their growth and contribution.
Even in the winter, as I clear the entanglement of honeysuckle from my woods, I see such parallels to the work I do with team and leadership development. An invasive species like honeysuckle prevents native trees and wild flowers from growing. This eventually kills off the trees if left unchecked.
Team culture is very much the same. Unless culture is clearly defined and held to account, the most dominant personality, good or bad, will rule. I frequently see this cause:
- high performers feeling taken advantage of
- new people discouraged about excellence
- team and other departments misaligned, wasting energy and resources
What to do? I find three things give the best results:
1. Leadership that grows their team – Not telling and controlling, but setting expectations and engaging the right people so they grow and willingly collaborate.
2. Teach leadership and team members skills to master the art of conflict – ask me how.
3. Engage the team to define their culture – through dialogue guide them to create a short list of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions to hold themselves accountable. It is important the team members create and agree to this ‘credo.’
Just like honeysuckle, if team culture isn’t held in check to a certain standard it runs wild. I’ve seen some of the toughest groups shift with these three simple strategies.
What kind of team do you have: a honeysuckle team or a healthy group of magnificent individuals helping each other grow?
Let me know what you’ve found to work!