At work I have often been a part of a team. For decades. Context, people and demands may have changed, but the notion of „a team“ has been constant. I have worked in companies where teams were spoken about at all levels and team work had a special place as one of the company’s values and the highest behavior standard or as a competence necessary to get the job done. Although it was an everyday part of leaders’ vocabulary, team work within these companies was not neccessarily a living reality. By the way, managers are prone to call the employees in their sector a team in order to highlight the need to achieve success, the importance of atmosphere of team spirit and interdependence. Since they wish to build a team, they organize trainings or team buldings, and the effects are indeed tangible, although unfortunately short-lived.
How to make a team the real Team and the effects invested in team development sustainable?
In their book The Wisdom of Teams, J. Katzenbach and D.Smith say that a team is a small group of people (less than 20) of complementary skills, who are devoted to a shared purpose and goals. The members are devoted to one another and hold one another responsible for achieving team results.
Lately there has been a lot of talk in business world about purpose – why do we do something, why do we exist, what do we contribute, how does our work change the world? When we begin working with clients, we often notice that the employees know little about the company history, vision, mission and values, which makes it difficult for them to connect and determine the purpose of their team. Although a company has their purpose defined, a team needs to find their own purpose within the company and strive for it in their everyday work. Without a purpose they believe in, a team misses clear vision of what to strive for and what for or who for to put the additional effort in in order to achieve their goals. Unfortunately, not even the most inspiring purpose is often enough to move a team towards being a true team. What is necessary is for the leader and all team members to truly believe in their team and its purpose. What really makes a team is interdependence of its members and trusting that the team is capable of dealing with challenges and achieving results, where simultaneously everyone is willing to replace their own goals by team goals. This kind of trust is the hardest and some teams never overcome that challenge. Often the leader promotes reaching individual goals by their own example or a whole company functions by rewarding individual contributions. In such a culture it is difficult to form a team.
A team needs challenging goals to focus on. A while ago, one team member at a team coaching session said he had a solution for an existing conflict within the team ’’I know, we need team – building!’’. Actually – no. A team needs challenging tasks in order to move towards fulfilling their purpose. A team – building can help while the team is forming, with clear goals for the team members to get acquainted, create synergies, define their purpose and goals. However, team – building on its own is not going to bring better results. Another important difference to make is whether the leader has a team below them or is the leader a part of the team. Have you ever encountered a situation where your leader is using the team to get the job done for them? In that case, the leader is showing an example of individual approach to work, regardless of how often they speak about team or expect you to be a part of it. Due to this sensitive, however important mark of a succesful team, at a team coaching the leader participates in it together with the team, they define change goals together with the team and they move towards the desired state together with the team.
Leaders often feel the team can do more. When I look back, I myself as a director in some teams have often asked what is it that would make us even a more productive team? Is there something that I do not see that would help our team achieve outsanding results that I instinctively knew it was meant to achieve? Do you wonder how to improve results of your team? Do you feel they could do better than they do, regardless of how good the results are? Team coaching helps you build the development path and create the necessary change in the team. This approach enables you to achieve the change you want within a set time period through a combination of individual and team coaching. We are there for you to meet your needs and development plans using the framework of Transactional analysis, systemic approach and integrative organizational development.
Would you like to know more?