Team development to a level of high performance is a vital part of leadership training that can be taught – and learned. Do you know how to stop teams that are supposed to collaborate from competing or even fighting by applying High Performance Team Coaching? Read on to learn about 3 leadership mistakes that destroy teamwork and how you turn them around creatingreliable high performance teams instead!

Lack of trust + pressure = disaster

An unhealthy working atmosphere due to rivalry, lack of trust and disrespect between departments can be a leader’s nightmare. The negative effects often intensify in peak hours when staffis under considerable stress. That’s whenunproductive emotional patterns show up causing visible irritation and conflict. The emotional team intelligence hits rock bottom and even worse it can drive your internal or external customers away as they sense it, whichis simply unacceptable.

3 common leadership mistakes when developing teams – and what to do instead:

Team Development Mistake #1 – No focus on establishing close relationships between all department heads that form your inner circle.

Your turnaround team coachingapproach #1:

Challenge the inner circle to verbalise all their issues and resentments. To heal the unhealthy working climate, starting with the departments heads, you arrange a series of face to face meetings with 2 heads each. They then can share their issues and resentments in a safe and confidential environment by disciplined use of active and empathic listening. A neutral external facilitator can be vital to ensure all issues surface and are resolved.

Team Development Mistake #2 – No clearly defined team rules exist (written down and visible).

Yourturnaround team coachingapproach #2:

Each department creates a list of detailed team rules (no more than 7) in a facilitated group setting choosing a wording that all can identify with and are prepared to commit to. These different sets of team rules from all departments are then compared by the inner circle. Rules that can be applied as overall guide lines for collaboration between departments and overall teamwork are established, mutually agreed, and then reported back to the sub teams (no more than 7). In each department the 2 sets of rules, internal and overall, are handed out in print and “signed off” in aceremonial actby everyone.

Team Development Mistake #3 – No exchange between the departments’ staff in form of job rotation

Your turnaround team coachingapproach #3:

Adisciplined ‘job rotation’ across departments is agreed by the inner circle and implemented, outside of peak times. Staff members learn about the other departments by spending some regular time there. This is a crucial step that also requires creativity to manage the daily workload and still be able to “swap” staff between departments. Benefits of this step are diverse:

  • Staff has “to walk in other peoples shoes” and really experience the other departments from the inside. They get to know each other much better, start to bond, and resistance melts away over time.
  • Staff gets used to change by working in a new environment on a regular basis due to the rotation. They should aim to understand all processes, bottlenecks and challenges “the others have” especially in peak times.
  • Staff gets up-skilled in multitasking and better positioned to jump in when needed due to absence or staff turnover.

Crucial mindset to drive the turnaround

The mindset for all3 approaches needs to focus on “we are in this together” and “we all want to” versus “we have to”. In a nutshell this is an invitation to all team members to voluntary “sign up” for team excellence and enjoying growth in the process. To get the best buy-in right from the start this 3 step approach should be the result of a facilitated workshop using group discussions and brainstorming.

The task is to enable different department teams to clearly see overall benefits for themselves and the entire business unit. Only thencan theyvisualize how enjoyable the work atmosphere could become.Only thendo theywant to start working towards it.

Staying on track

To keepyourteamsontrackI usually encourage all team players (heads and staff) to ask them selves every evening at the “end of play” as collaborating teams:

When did we win today?

What did we learn today?

What can we change tomorrow to improve our game – and enjoy the journey!

Apply this simple formula as a daily habit: WinLearnChange.I invite you to use thisleadership team building approach tomake a difference inyour high performance team development.

Author: Thomas Orths
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