High-Performance Team Building
The power your company needs is sitting latent in your employees.
Group dynamics build high-performance teams and empowers your workforce.
Unlocking Team Power
Over a steaming cup of Komodo Dragon with whole milk, three Splendas, and a dusting of nutmeg, a friend of mine told me about her rise to senior leadership. Years earlier, she had taken over a workgroup made up of tenured employees who were all older than she. The average seniority of the group was 25 years. Her role was to help them engage current and new customers to buy a new scan-and-pay technology her company had developed. The team was known for chewing up and spitting out new managers, and she had to overcome the team’s years of negativity. The group was disengaged, below performance goals, and rumors were some of them worked side jobs while pretending to be at client sites!
To reinvigorate the team, she focused on their strengths and didn’t tell them how bad they were. She also didn’t give them performance reviews to document why she should fire them, or to put them on a performance plan. NO! She focused on strengths, gained their trust, and won their hearts and minds. The same lagging team went on to work for her with passion and dedication, and she became a senior enterprise account manager.
During team strategy sessions, I use strength cards to build positive group dynamics and help uncover your team's strengths. Once a positive foundation is laid, a discussion on how to navigate the four stages of team growth; forming storming, norming, and performing. During these sessions, we will evaluate who is on the team, if they are in the right seat, and how well they manage conflict.
Conflict resolution and group decision making are two of the most critical aspects of team dynamics that must be mastered to become a high-performance team. Let's connect and talk about your teams...
Nothing great happens without a team.
None of us are as smart as all of us working together.
Team Leadership, Is Like Navigating a Winding Road
Imagine it’s a typical day in the office, and Monday morning's 11:00 am team meeting has just ended...Bob and Bill, a Boomer and a Gen Xer leave angrily...
“Bill, what heck the was that?! These damn Millennials are so arrogant it’s unbelievable, can you believe Arden just let his team run off at the mouth. Does he think he can come in here and take over?” Bill responds, “I hear ya, Bob. He’s the FNG! Who does he think he is? They all think they’re entitled to everything!!” Bob says, “Classic CLM! He’s gotta learn around here; it’s ETR baby, ETR!”
Note to Millennials and Gen Z: ETR (Earn the right), FNG (F’n New Guy/Girl), and CLM (Career Limiting Move).
One of the growing areas affecting team building is when and how new team members find acceptance and a voice within workgroups; this is called Team Membership Negotiation.
Arden and Amber, a Millennial and Gen Z, left the meeting disheartened. They walk to a great tea café’, and have a cup of kava and a shaken black tea. Arden starts, “I felt like Bob personally attacking me. He made me and my team feel like our ideas sucked. I’m not sure if I want to work here anymore. Maybe I should go where I’m appreciated.”
Amber responds, “I felt the same way when I got promoted. When I tried to give input, Sue always cut me off, like I was some plebe. However, Sue and I talked, and I told her how I felt. She was shocked. She didn’t mean to make me feel rejected or unappreciated. She was just trying to make sure everyone got a chance to speak.”
Note to Xers and Boomers: Kava (nature’s Xanax) is a relaxing muddy looking warm drink.
Testimonial: "I was able to apply the positive leadership strategies I received to improve my team-building skills. As a result, over the next two years, my team's revenue increased by 40%, and customer satisfaction went through the roof".
James, Regional Director, Tampa, FL
Appreciative Inquiry (AI): Finding the Silver Lining
Appreciative Inquiry’s (AI) roots are in positive psychology. AI is a practice that requires Emotional Intelligence (EI) or Cultural Intelligence (CI). By exercising AI principles, and using in EI and CI skills, leaders can unlock their team’s power. Six key factors in unlocking the potential of your existing staff and emerging leaders revolve around freedom. America’s culture of freedom is what made our economy the greatest on earth. Liberating the latent power that already exists in our current workforce costs little but may win the future. In the “Change Handbook,” Cooperrider and Whitney list the six freedom factors for Appreciative Inquiry, (AI) as:
The freedom to be known in respected work relationships.
The freedom to be heard.
The freedom to dream in community.
The freedom to choose to contribute.
The freedom to act with support.
The freedom to be positive.
AI helps free up and use the latent knowledge bottled up in your current staff. Free up your staff by weeding out the negative, build on your strengths, and transform your workplace.
(Brown, Homer, & Isaacs, 2007)
Decision Making and Conflict Resolution
Team development and group dynamics strategies are people-centered and dramatically affect organizational performance and improve decision making. It promotes democratic, participative management methods. High-performance teams have learned to unlock team power.
Decision making is proven to be more successful when done by group consensus. Wise leaders gather information from their team and engage them to answer mission-critical questions.
There is no getting away from the need to learn how to motivate, facilitate, and lead teams. Conflict is an unavoidable part of group decision making. Learning positive conflict resolution skills is a critical success factor for successful team leadership. Creative problem-solving (CPS) and negotiation skills are two tools for resolving conflict in making decisions by consensus.
I recommend reading the books in the presentation below and taking the creativity orientation tests. I guarantee you will become more aware of your strengths and areas for improvement and unlock your ability to be a better follower and teammate. You will also recognize those in your organization who have strong leadership and creativity skills.
Barriers to Team Building
There are perceived differences in work ethic as demonstrated in the example above. However, these perceived differences are mainly due to misunderstandings between generational communication styles and norms. These perceived differences create barriers to being accepted within new workgroups. As different work norm beliefs surface, disparities in accepted practices may make older group members marginalize younger newcomers. The marginalization intensifies with lower-level communication skills, which lack understanding of each generation’s preferred communication methods. Gen Xers notoriously dislike group work and meetings, yet Millennials have grown up in workgroup environments and meeting in groups from grade school through university studies.
Group and team environments have a great deal of importance in acceptance in the workplace. Millennials grew up as the center of attention. Mid-career GenXers in middle management don’t see as much need for group work; they desire to work autonomously. Millennials also want to know detailed knowledge of strategic information, generally reserved for upper managers. They tend to reject the idea that information is provided on a “need to know” basis. This drive to see private or privileged information can cause trust issues with older leaders.
A marked commonality between the generations is that the generations are equally concerned about success and money. Regarding a positive impact on workplace performance and team building, Millennials want frequent, open, detailed, and positive support from their managers. Click here for team building...