Forming a strong team requires intentional focus from both the leader and the team itself.
For a team to work, every member must want to be a part of the team and want the team to succeed. I’m looking at some of the news (some true some rumor) coming from the Cleveland Cavaliers and there seems to be a disconnect at the moment. If they don’t close ranks their dream of a repeat is in jeopardy. And like a sports team, if a business team’s members do not pull together, the team will fail in making its obligations.
Staying with the basketball analogy, one of my most favorite movies is Hoosiers. It is a great story of how a small high school decided that as a team they could do more than any single talent on the team could do. Game after game the coach would not let the best shooter on the team take the shot but instead he got the team to pull together as one.
While business is not a sport – there are no trophies or super bowl rings to be won – I have seen business teams do the impossible because they worked together and overcame obstacles. They beat the timeline, overcame the competition and drove their organization to a favorable position.
You’re a team member – how do you “choose to be a great team member”?
- Learn what your team members do.
It will help you understand how to support them. It will make communication better. It will allow you to cover during holidays and sick days because you keep the bigger vision in mind.
- Be approachable.
Trust is built on open relationships. Trust is built over time. Play the long game.
- Don’t gossip or talk behind your team members’ backs.
If you have an issue, get it on the table. Nothing destroys a team more than lack of honesty. Internal strife like we are seeing on the Cavs may hurt their chances come playoff time.
Being a great team member is hard work. However, the rewards can be huge. And like the Hoosiers you can win big. There may not be a trophy in it for you but the self satisfaction of a job well done may be worth it all.
In the news of late, I keep hearing the word “accountability” used over and over. What are you accountable for? What are you not accountable for?
In manufacturing we use the same word while changing the adjective: Personal accountability. Team accountability. Leadership accountability. How do you use the word “accountability”? What’s your framework? In order to baseline our conversation here I looked it up in the dictionary and found this: the quality or state of being accountable; especially: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions
But how do you accept responsibility for your own actions if you don’t have a solid understanding of what you or your team are measuring against? How can you be accountable for your actions if you don’t have a solid grasp of what it is you are working toward? Accountability can become a slippery slope into finger pointing if you aren’t careful.
We all know that accountability should start with the understanding of what you are measuring against. For a team to “be held accountable” there must be a base line, a tether to a solid goal, and/or a metric that adequately communicates reality.
As leaders, our job is to identify what we are holding ourselves and our teams accountable for /against. We must:
- Comprehend the complete picture so that we can have the team work together in the right direction – setting them up for success.
- Understand the metric including all those pesky details influencing the metric. Knowing what your team needs to do to improve the metric, or what they can do to “meld” the metric, will ensure you ask the right questions to hold them, and more importantly yourself, accountable.
- Prioritize the metric so the team can make the correct trade-offs. (Note: I know it should go without saying but… Safety is never something that can be traded off. Never!)
- Sustain the metric by working with the team to remove barriers. If you don’t invest in the metric, spend money to remove barriers, and/or apply resources to move faster, your team will know it is just another “metric to pencil whip”.
Accountability is multifaceted and is made up of responsibility, actions, and decisions. Knowing your responsibility guides your actions and influences your decisions. Know your goal. Know your obligation. Own what’s yours.