Feel Connected with teams

POWER THROUGH CONNECTION

Improving performance by learning new skills is not the only way to heighten production. Sometimes, improving performance depends upon changing the emotional atmosphere and improving employee relationships.

When people feel connected to others, they experience less negative stress. Relationships change brain chemistry, making people less vulnerable to negativity. To foster a feeling of connection in the workplace, leaders have to set aside the right kinds and amounts of time for interacting.

Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 2.54.58 pmMore meetings build connection and unity. They should involve talking about work, behaviors, roles, and responsibilities, so people can see the different ways their experiences connect with those of others.

Leaders should have several types of meetings with their teams:

*Daily check-in: 5-10 minutes.

*Weekly tactical: 45-90 minutes.

*Monthly strategic: 2-4 hours.

*Quarterly off-site review: 1 to 2 days.

The most important ingredient for successful meetings is having a predictable schedule and structure.

Another way leaders can set boundaries is by creating connections. Factors that neurologically build connection among coworkers include:

*A shared purpose that is clearly defined within the meeting.

*Awareness that allows everyone to operate from the same facts and realities.

*Nonverbal cues, such as turning off cell phones, that indicate a willingness to actively engage with others.

*Collaboration in an environment where people are physically and mentally present and engaged in problem solving.

*Coherent and relevant narratives that engage the brain more fully and illustrate people’s roles in the company story as it moves forward.

*Conflict resolution that confronts those interpersonal issues that hinder high performance.

*Emotional regulation that results from connecting with others for feedback and empathy.

*Emotional reflection that focuses on the present and leads to insight and openness within the group.

*Emotional repair that occurs in a group bound by mutual trust.

*Listening that is active and intentional so that each member of the group knows and understands the others.

Team Effectiveness

HOW MANAGEMENT TEAMS CAN HAVE A GOOD FIGHT

By Kathleen M. Eisenhardt, Jean L. Kahwajy, and L.J. Bourgeois III

When performed constructively, conflict among team members helps teams make high-stakes decisions quickly and effectively. Through their research, the authors found that teams can successfully leverage constructive conflict and limit interpersonal conflict by:Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 10.55.15 am

1. Focusing on the facts. Teams must acquire a wealth of objective and up-to-date data about their businesses and competitors so that team members can have informed debates about critical issues.

2. Multiplying the alternatives. Having only two options can polarize a team and create destructive conflict. To avoid this and encourage a healthy debate, managers must offer four to five options for team members.

3. Creating common goals. Leaders must frame strategic choices as collaborative rather than competitive exercises so that members feel as though achieving the best solution is in everyone’s best interest.

4. Using humor. Teams with low levels of interpersonal conflict use humor to relieve tension and provide a collaborative spirit among members.

5. Balancing the power structure. Interpersonal conflict is low in “balanced power structures” where the CEO has the most power, but other management members have substantial power in their own areas of responsibility and can participate in strategic decisions.

6. Seeking consensus with qualification. Conflict is managed in the two-step process of “consensus with qualification.” First, executives discuss an issue and try to reach a consensus. If they cannot, the most relevant senior manager makes the decision with the input of the rest of the group in consideration.

VIRTUOSO TEAMS

VIRTUOSO TEAMS

By Bill Fischer and Andy Boynton

Although “virtuoso teams,” comprised of top experts in their fields, are best at managing high-stake situations, leaders often settle for ordinary project teams to avoid the egocentric nature that “virtuoso” members are notorious for. Consequently, they get ordinary results. To put together a high performing virtuoso team, managers must:

*Assemble the stars. Hire the people with the best skills who are willing to dive into risky challenges. Virtuoso teams blend their collaboration with a sense of competition.

*Build the ego of the group. Managers must help team members break through their egocentrism to become a powerful, unified team by cultivating a single-minded focus on a common goal.

*Make work a contact sport. Instead of allowing members to debate and discuss remotely, managers of virtuoso teams must facilitate face-to-face conversations in order to foster impassioned dialogues.p2

*Challenge the customer. Managers of virtuoso teams must foster the belief that customers want more, not less, and encourage members to deliver solutions consistent with this higher perception.

*Herd the cats. Virtuoso teams do not emphasize consensus and compromise, but use goals and strict deadlines to balance members’ needs for individual attention and intellectual freedom.

WHEN TEAMS CAN’T DECIDE

WHEN TEAMS CAN’T DECIDE

By Bob Frisch

The trouble with cross-functional team decision making is the process itself. To improve their teams’ decision-making processes, leaders must first acknowledge that decision making is problematic because each member has constituencies in the organization they are vying for. Leaders can improve the decision-making process by:

*Clearly articulating the outcome. When the outcome the team wants to collectively accomplish is unclear, individual members can choose options based on unspoken assumptions.

*Providing a range of options for achieving outcomes. Leaders must ensure that there is a broader range of options beyond “accept the proposed plan,” “reject the proposed plan,” and “defer the decision.”

*Testing fences and walls. When team members encounter a presumed boundary, they must take the time to determine if it is an immovable “wall” or a “fence” that can be moved.

*Surfacing preferences early. To focus a discussion, leaders must survey team members before meetings and identify their preferences.

*Stating each other’s pros and cons. Leaders should make sure both sides of every option are thoroughly voiced. This often requires assigning a devil’s advocate to make counterarguments and depersonalize the discussion.

*Devising new options that preserve the best features of existing ones. If a team has reached an impasse, it is often necessary for it to reframe its options in a way that preserves the original intent.

EI in groups

BUILDING THE EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE OF GROUPS

By Vanessa Urch Druskat and Steven B. Wolff

Although group Emotional Intelligence (EI) can help skilled teams reach their highest potential, it is far more complex than individual EI and therefore more difficult to cultivate. To build group EI, a team must be aware of and constructively regulate the emotions of:Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 2.54.50 pm

*Individual team members. To understand the sources of individuals’ emotional behaviors, members can perform role-playing exercises and adopt the opinions and styles of others. To regulate individual emotional behavior, teams must learn how to constructively confront others.

*The whole group. Teams must use self-evaluation and feedback from others as norms that cultivate group self-awareness of their emotional states, strengths, and weaknesses. To regulate group-level emotion, teams must establish norms that create resources for working with emotions, foster an affirmative environment, and encourage proactive problem solving.

*Other key groups. Teams can cultivate awareness of the emotions of other key groups by having team members act as liaisons to important constituencies. To regulate the emotions of other key groups, it is necessary to develop cross-boundary relationships in which appreciation is shown.

COLLABORATIVE TEAMS

EIGHT WAYS TO BUILD COLLABORATIVE TEAMS

By Lynda Gratton and Tamara J. Erickson

The successful execution of a major initiative requires a complex team comprised of many educated specialists from diverse backgrounds. However, while the complexity of a team may be beneficial to an initiative, it can also make collaboration extremely challenging. To maximize the effectiveness of large, complex teams, the following eight practices are recommended:

1. Invest in building and maintaining social relationship practices. Executives can build and maintain social relationships throughout their organizations with “signature practices,” or highly visible investments that demonstrate commitment to collaboration.

2. Model collaborative behavior. Executive teams must support a culture of collaboration by making their own collaborative efforts visible to the rest of their organizations.Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 01.28.49

3. Create a “gift culture.” A “gift culture” is one where employees view interactions with leaders and colleagues as valuable and generous. This can be cultivated if executives embed mentoring and coaching into their routine behavior and throughout their companies.

4. Ensure the requisite skills. Collaboration improves when HR departments teach employees how to build relationships, communicate well, and resolve conflicts.

5. Support a strong sense of community. People are more likely to reach out to others and share knowledge when they feel a sense of community. HR can foster a community spirit by sponsoring events like networking groups or weekend gatherings.

6. Assign team leaders who are task- and relationship-oriented. The most successful team leaders are able to be task-oriented in the beginning stages of a project and shift to being relationship builders as conflict between members arises.

7. Build on heritage relationships. As people are reluctant to share knowledge with strangers, it is necessary to ensure team members know one another.

8. Ensure role clarity and task ambiguity. Cooperation increases when the roles of individual team members are clearly defined but the path to the achieving the team’s goal is left somewhat ambiguous. Task ambiguity promotes creative thinking and collaboration.

WHY TEAMS DON’T WORK

WHY TEAMS DON’T WORK

By Diane Coutu

Teams consistently underperform, despite the extra resources they have, because of problems with coordination, motivation, and competition. Team expert Professor J. Richard Hackman argues that while even the best leaders cannot guarantee that their teams will deliver results, they can increase the likelihood of their success by setting the following conditions:

*The team is “real.” Leaders must be ruthlessly clear about who is on the team and who is not. Sometimes this requires forcing ill-suited members off the team.

*The team has a compelling direction. Leaders must articulate a clear direction to ensure members do not pursue different agendas. Members must know and agree on the work they are collaborating on.

*The team has expert coaching. When it comes to group processes, teams need guidance from expert coaches who can:

*Run launch meetings to orient team members with the tasks at hand.

*Help teams conduct midpoint reviews to determine what is working and what is not.Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 10.55.15 am

*Regularly reflect on finished work to identify successes and shortcomings and how members can make the best use of their experiences the next time around.

*The team has a designated deviant. To avoid complacency, leaders must assign “deviants,” or naysayers who challenge their teams’ desire for homogeneity.

Leading with RESPECT

Teams of all types have the best chance to become SuperTeams when their leaders understand the critical importance of RESPECT. This includes the following elements:Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 2.55.05 pm

*Recognition: Making sure that people are recognized individually and appropriately for their contributions.

*Empowerment: Giving team members the autonomy and decision-mak ing authority they need to get things done.

*Supportive feedback: Providing prompt, actionable feedback on a routine basis.

*Partnering: Acting as an ally and advocate for team members.

*Expectations: Ensuring that roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and equitable.

*Consideration: Recognizing that team members are human and need understanding and thoughtfulness.

*Trust: Demonstrating confidence in team members by trusting them with important tasks.

Trust importance

Trust is the foundation for respect, and vice versa. On a SuperTeam, trust is a core characteristic that gives people the freedom they need to share information, work collaboratively, and provide critical feedback to other team members.

Trust enhances efficiency and effectiveness by reducing the need to communicate; people who trust each other to get a job done do not need to check in with each other, check up on one another’s’ work, or fear that anyone is pursuing a personal agenda. There are five important ways to build trust:

1. Overcommunicate. The more people communicate, the more they are trusted for their transparency.

2. Give trust. When people feel trusted, they are more likely to return that trust.

3. Ask for feedback. Asking others for feedback is a way of showing trust in and respect for their opinions.

4. Disclose. People who share personal information and get to know their teammates enhance others’ trust in them.

5. Be someone who can be counted on. Trusted members on a team are willing to help others when they need it.

RESPECT MODEL

THE RESPECT MODEL

Recognition

Recognition is a very powerful tool. People who are recognized for their efforts on the job feel respected, validated, and secure. They are more likely to engage, work harder, and feel better about what they do. Conversely, when their productive behaviors go unrecognized, people are less likely to repeat those behaviors.

Recognition does not come naturally to most people. Team members and leaders need to make recognition a priority by using simple tools like writing thank you notes, sending e-mail “shout outs,” or taking deserving individuals out for coffee.

Empowerment

When employees are empowered, they can think, behave, and act autonomously. They are able to maximize their potential as team members and their opportunities to succeed, which leads them to take initiative and achieve more success. Unfortunately, there are many forms of resistance to empowering people, including:

*Team leaders who fear that giving autonomy and authority to others diminishes their own importance.

*Team leaders who lack knowledge of how to empower others.

*An unwillingness to spend money on training that is necessary to help people succeed.

On a SuperTeam, strategic development plans are created for every member. Team leaders determine when and what type of training is needed, and seek appropriate new challenges for everyone. Relatively inexpensive ways to enhance the empowerment process include:

*Offering cross-training so team members can support and cover for each other.

*Auditing the team’s skills in order to address talent needs.

*Establishing clear decision-making boundaries.

*Learning not just what the team is doing, but why things are done a certain way.

Supportive Feedback 

Supportive feedback involves sharing straightforward, constructive perceptions and advice to help people improve. It should be encouraging, specific, and actionable. On a SuperTeam, feedback is both given and received respectfully; the giver shows respect by caring about the recipient’s growth and development, while the recipient shows respect by being open to the feedback and appreciative of the giver’s effort. Moreover, SuperTeam members take the initiative to ask each other for feedback.pphoto

It is not easy to provide supportive feedback, but there are ten specific ways that SuperTeam members can improve how their feedback is structured and delivered:

1. Ask permission. When people give permission to a provider of feedback, they are less likely to react to the feedback defensively.

2. Pull the individual into a discussion of what went wrong. This approach is more effective than when a feedback provider simply pushes a point of view.

3. Focus on behaviors, not attitudes. When people improve their behaviors, their attitudes change as well.

4. Avoid judging or preaching. Assume the individual welcomes an opportunity to perform more successfully.

5. Show empathy. People who have experienced poor outcomes feel vulnerable and appreciate a feedback provider’s understanding.

6. Comment on what worked as well as what failed. This approach enhances the feedback recipient’s perception of fairness.

7. Take a TeamWe approach. Feedback to a team member should be given in the spirit of collaboration.

8. Seek to understand. Instead of making assumptions, the feedback provider should ask questions about what happened from the recipient’s point of view.

9. Speak from an “I” perspective. Feedback providers must recognize that theirs is a personal perspective, and that they should be open to the perspectives of others.

10. Be straight. Feedback should be delivered in a straightforward way, not watered down or obfuscated.

Partnering

SuperTeams go beyond collaboration; they work together to partner in ongoing, committed relationships where each member has the others’ interests at heart. These partnerships may be short or long term, formed to accomplish specific tasks or to achieve visionary goals. They may include other teams both inside and outside of organizations.

Unfortunately, many partnerships fail to realize their true potential. Based on the authors’ research, failure can most effectively be avoided when teams pay attention to 12 key organizational and interpersonal factors:

1. Clear and compelling vision. The efforts of partners may be misaligned in the absence of a shared vision.

2. Core values. There should be partnership agreement on the principles that determine what is important to all members.

3. Culture. Culture is the underpinning of social mores and how things work in a partnership.

4. Clear roles and responsibilities. All members must clearly understand what they are counted on to do and what will be done by other members.

5. Complementary roles and synergy. Teams often include people with different but complementary skills and abilities. To function as partnerships, team members need clarity about what talents are needed and how to obtain them.

6. Cross-training. In powerful partnerships, people are trained to be able to support and cover for each other.

7. Competence. Partners take responsibility for helping others learn the skills they need or shift roles to take advantage of their strengths.

8. Clear performance goals and expectations. In a partnership, people’s performance can be clearly evaluated based on criteria that everyone knows.

9. Commitment. Partners are committed to the team for the long term and are willing to address any weakening of commitments that may occur.

10. Collaboration. Partners collaborate not only to accomplish specific tasks, but also to build relationships and support each other.

11. Character. Personal integrity of all members is an indispensable element in effective partnerships.

12. Communication. Partners must have open lines of communication at all times, especially when there are relationship problems.