In 1968, my parents purchased the mountain property on which my cabin now sits. They imagined a place where the family could gather, relax, and enjoy the beauty of nature.
With the arrival of my grandson last December, the fourth generation of our family is now experiencing this blessing. If my folks were still alive they’d be thrilled.
One of the first things we did was to clear the lot and establish a strong foundation for the structure. My uncle (who was a carpenter) explained that this was necessary for the house to last.
A strong foundation is also essential for team health. This foundation is your company culture.
I discussed this two weeks ago. Click below to check out that post. It provides helpful context.
So, in order of importance, here are the four pillars upon which you will begin to build a first-class team.
Trust – Trust has many facets in the workplace. Today, I will focus on one – do your team members “have each other’s back?”
This is colloquial, but it’s spot on.
The big idea here is to move from transactional interactions to those built on relationships. This requires an environment that fosters openness and accountability.
A good place to start is by “assuming the best” about your team members. A little grace and understanding goes a long way in establishing a strong relational connection.
Conflict Resolution – does your team shy away from conflict or do they embrace and resolve it? Teams that learn healthy conflict resolution are the most productive.
The big idea here is moving from avoidance to agreement.
This requires the environment of trust just discussed. Team members need to be safe in sharing their viewpoints, knowing that they won’t be judged or ridiculed.
This doesn’t mean that everyone agrees, simply that all viewpoints are welcomed so the group can arrive at the best mutual decision.
Commitment – once trust and healthy conflict resolution have been established as team norms, a sense of heightened buy-in naturally results.
The big idea here is moving from compliance to commitment. This has a lot to do with the team leader.
Team leaders that rely on their relational capital vs. their positional authority will enhance and amplify this sense of buy in.
Have you ever had a boss who just “laid down the law?” Or one who simply barked out orders of how they wanted something done in spite of everyone having provided their opinions?
Most people respond to this by complying with their bosses wishes, even if they trust their teammates and know they can share their opinions openly. Why bother if the leader just tells them how they want it done?
If you are overly reliant on your authority at the expense of the relationships, maybe it’s time for a tune-up.
Results – even with the first three pillars firmly established, to cement the health of your team you need to achieve and celebrate results – move from losses to wins.
Teams exist to get things done. There’s nothing like the feeling of knowing that you are on a team that is honed for sustainable success.
What if your culture isn’t great? You’re a gifted team leader, but your company’s culture is weak.
In this case, determine to be a “bright light in the darkness.” These principles still work, just realize that there will be outside factors that could be demotivating.
Acknowledge these problems to your team up front. They’ll appreciate your honesty. Then work together to mitigate these factors to the extent possible.