Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Ten questions we ought to consider regarding the teams we lead

Chances are, if you lead others you also lead a team or teams. You are probably also on a team above you. I've been on a lot of teams over the years and they were not all created equal. Many of those teams were teams in name only. They were a group of people who were called a team but did not operate as a team. And that is the problem with teams: many are not truly teams and don't operate together in a common mission. This creates cynicism and discouragement for staff who want to be working with others toward common objectives.

I define a team as a group of missionally aligned and healthy individuals working synergistically together under good leadership toward common objectives with accountability for results.

The problem with many teams is that they lack one or more of the critical elements above which creates frustration and disempowerment for team members. One unhealthy individual can cause team chaos; without mission alignment people are doing their own thing; when members don't work together they create silos and turf wars; without good leadership there is no cohesion; when common objectives are not present lack focus and without accountability for results you don't evaluate your effectiveness.

All of these scenarios hurt your staff who want their energy and contribution to count. In fact, when teams are not healthy there is often staff fallout. There is certainly a level of cynicism and discouragement. Good leaders build good teams because it is what their staff expect, what the organization needs and what brings satisfaction to those who are on mission together.

What does this mean for me as a leader or supervisor? It means that we need to make the development of the team or teams we lead one of our highest priorities. We must remember that it is not longer about me but about us. We must provide maximum clarity to the team as to what we are about and we need to intentionally craft and nurture the team so that it is the healthiest team possible.

There are ten important questions we ought to think about when we consider the teams we lead:
  1. Are we clear about what we are going after?
  2. Do we have the right people on the team?
  3. How am I developing the team to grow?
  4. Am I keeping the main thing in front of the team at all times?
  5. Do I prepare and conduct meaningful team meetings?
  6. Am I removing barriers for team members?
  7. Does the team have what it needs to be successful?
  8. Do I appropriately engage the team in crucial conversations?
  9. Are team members free to share their views candidly?
  10. Does the team have a plan and are we together accountable for results?


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