Team building exercises emphasize that there is no “I” in TEAM. But there is an equally important sense in which teams fail to function at their best when we fail to wield our personal influence. There is room for recognizing the importance of the YOU in teams.
One of the challenges that organizations face is their drive for compliance and conformity in the context of an increasing desire for more flexibility among the staff. Individuals are craving for opportunities to express themselves. On the other hand, organizations recognize just how challenging it will be to provide for this flexibility while keeping their systems, procedures and even values intact.
In some organizations the emphasis on conformity and compliance has led to a situation in which there is group think. Team members suppress their thoughts and fall in line. This stifles innovation. Still worse, is the risk that inefficient processes and poor decision-making might go unchallenged.
Finding the right balance between flexibility and conformity is the frontier to be conquered through innovative, responsive leadership.
HOW CAN INDIVIDUALISM BE EMBRACED?
- Invite unique perspectives
What if we created safe environments in which team members are encouraged to carefully observe how things are being done? The objective would be to identify and share on which tasks present the greatest difficulty as well as to note where team members excel and where they struggle.
In a climate of non-judgemental sharing, bottle necks and areas for improvement are identified. In addition, examples of how best to complete tasks are identified. That provides a platform for peer coaching.
The open discourse will also highlight ineffective processes and how to improve them from the ground up.
- Peer coaching
What if more emphasis was placed on identifying and recognizing the unique competences of individuals? Some people perform given tasks better than others. What if as a matter of policy these positive differences were harnessed?
High value peer coaching could become a regular feature of team development with positive impact on performance at no or low cost.
- Lack of trust
Creating the safe, developmental environment in which open sharing is possible might be frustrated by individual fears and lack of trust.
What if I am found to be less efficient than others in a number of key areas?
Suppose my colleagues have an axe to grind with me?
This can be overcome to some degree by strong and trustworthy leadership. There needs to be constant reinforcement in words and deed that the exchanges will only be used for development processes. Identifying needs for the further development of skills should be treated as a win-win opportunity. The individual acquires enhanced competences and the team benefits from improved performance.
- Jealousy/Self-esteem issues
Some team members might be resistant to the idea of being coached by their peers. This is a selfish and unhealthy mindset. Again, effective leadership has a role in enlightening this backward way of thinking.
Others might withdraw from the process and even adopt negative behaviours because they have viewed the process in ways that dent their self-esteem.
The truth is that current trends have encouraged the more open display of our human imperfections. Restraining our personal needs in the interest of the overall good seems to be an old fashioned way of thinking.
As a consequence, we reject even simple ways of working together on projects that will benefit the collective unit.
There is a critical need to rethink how we view the issue of coexistence. Work needs to done in assessing our capacity to effectively understand and modify our social context. How do we interpret and respond to events?
Do we feel empowered or responsible for the experiences that will define the social context in the future?
These considerations are key components of advanced approaches to the development of high performance teams. Appreciating the differences in how team members perceive the social context adds a unique dimension to understanding team dynamics.
DEVELOPING HIGH PERFORMANCE TEAMS
Application of carefully crafted combinations of assessments – skills, mindset and behavioural – provides a platform for work on the development of the team that incorporates insights that are simply not available from other sources. Yet, the objectivity and clarity that they bring to the process is invaluable.
Learn more about our High performing Team productivity and cohesion interventions https://extendeddiscsolutions.org/workforce-productivity-solutions/team-productivity-and-cohesion/