Team Building

Filed in Team Development by on March 31, 2017 0 Comments
  • Everyone is essential, but no person or group is sufficient on his or her own.
    Bill Buxton (Principle Researcher at Microsoft)

In the quote above, Mr. Buxton was referring specifically to Apple’s production of the IPod.  He says, “The company had to be firing on all cylinders, with all parts going in more or less the same direction.” Keeping a teams health and focus is a good challenge.  A challenge that’s really kept me on my toes and stretched me at times.

Most managers have a team, or several teams they are responsible for. From the organizations point of view, each team must add value to the organizations success.  The same applies to individuals.  Every individual’s contribution must add value to the team. Managers need good people to make good teams. I have found this relationship to be interdependent though, because people also like to have good managers.  After all, most people spend a large part of their lives at work.  Who wants to be around an asshole manager? Everybody contributes to the team in their own unique way.

A team begins as a relationship between individuals.  Individuals build a team.  There’s no magic formula.  Every member of a team builds trust, respect, and appreciation for themselves and others on the team through sharing and open communication.  A good manager provides an environment which fosters positive contributions to the team and allows individuals to build relationships through trust, respect, appreciation, and open communication.  A good manager removes all obstacles out of a teams way and gives them the resources they need to accomplish their work.  I learned a lot about management while I was in the military.

One of the things I learned was how to respect and appreciate people. The truth is, I learned a lot from managers who treated me the exact opposite way–they were disrespectful and didn’t appreciate anything or anybody.  Communication was usually very poor in these situations. Nobody wants to be around assholes. In my own experience, I’ve found that people promoted into management positions were usually there because they excelled at their craft, not because they were qualified to be people centered.  Some call it the Peter Principle. It doesn’t just sound funny, it’s real. Treating people with respect and dignity doesn’t seem to be “common” sense. It isn’t found in cereal boxes.  Robert Sutton wrote Good Boss, Bad Boss because he was inundated with so many people who had asshole bosses after he wrote the book, The No Asshole Rule.  I made a conscious choice to be different than the negative examples I experienced.  I’ve had a lot of managers and some of them were really good with people.  The good managers really stood out from the rest. (you know who you are!)

Management is an interdependent relationship.  Like most people, managers don’t like being disrespected, lied to, or taken advantage of either.  Good managers will privately call someone out if/when this happens.  Management experts like Stephen Covey recommend public recognition and private admonishment (when necessary). After all, an organizational team exists solely to benefit the organization and must maintain its focus on that goal.  In order to maintain a teams health, trust and respect must be equal between all of the members, including the manager.

In his book, The FIVE Dysfunctions of a TEAM, Patrick Lencioni says that a productive team exhibits the following:

  1. They trust one another
  2. They engage in unfiltered conflict around ideas
  3. They commit to decisions and plans of action
  4. They hold one another accountable for delivering against those plans
  5. They focus on the achievement of collective results

Working in teams is not easy.  It’s very complex.  To make an effective team, it helps to understand the group dynamics involved.  Once I realized how complex establishing an effective team is, I appreciated the process so much more.

Go team!

About the Author ()

Whether it's programming, troubleshooting, cooking, or playing music, Marshall enjoys being creative and lot's of laughter.

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