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In Systems Thinking the “whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Since teams are a living system, the same is true for teams – they can achieve more together than working separately.
However getting teams to work as a unit is not as easy as throwing people together and calling them a team. Here’s are the four top ways to get your staff pulling together in the same direction:
Two-way communication – Leaders need to do much more than tell. They need to have true communication, allowing their team members to ask tough questions & to doubt the leader. Listen carefully to what your team is saying, and act upon it. And encourage questions!
Care for them as individuals – It may sound counterintuitive if you want them working together as a unit, but caring for them as separate personalities shows you care for them and they will work harder. Ask them about their families. Ask them how they are feeling about projects.
Get out of the way – Give your team the goals, information and resources they need to accomplish the tasks and then get out of their way. Sometimes leaders want to be part of the solution, you are there to lead NOT do. Get out of the way. Be available to coach and advise but let the team do the work.
Positively reinforce – Give feedback and recognize good ideas, attitudes and progress. Don’t recognize people for finding the coffee machine, but for genuine advancement. And, you also need to shut down behaviors that are not productive – one of the toughest parts of the job, but it will shut down teamwork if not stopped.
Being a leader is not easy, it takes work and commitment. But with these four ways of leading in your pocket your team will be accomplishing more than you dreamed possible.
Want more ideas to get your team pulling together? Let’s talk Valerie.MacLeod@HainesCentre.com
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