Bring Your Team Back On Track

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All team leaders expect heroic results from their teams. Teams are anticipated to perform at a peak level in a variety of situations and conditions. Teams are created with the objective to speed up goal achievement. We hope out teams will deliver desired results in an efficient manner. Whether you are a CEO or a leader of your business unit, you too want your team to succeed at the challenges in hand.

But the fact is that teams are not simple. Teamwork is not a one-time thing. Today's brilliant performance doesn't promise a glittering victory for team in the future. Would like to know the reason? Teams are fluid; teams don't remain the same; team work is not automatic; team spirit is not constant; team bond is not immortal. That is the reason why high-performing teams slide down from the victory stand whether in sports or business.  

Bringing a high performing team back on track is critical for leaders. As a team-building trainer, I use a range of tools to help leaders achieve this objective.  The most effective approach has been to sensitize leaders about certain behaviors that cause teams to slip.  The process encourages teams (including leaders) to make a strong commitment to ‘SAY NO' to different behaviors, attitudes and actions damaging the overall productivity and performance of the team.

Team leaders are asked for taking personal responsibility to cultivate a climate of trust, confidence, and openness that once again leads teams to the achievement of supercilious goals.  If your goal is the same, following steps can guide you through the journey.

•1.       No tolerance for disrespect

Nothing can damage teams more than an environment surrounded by disrespect for individuals working in a team. People can compromise on less money and benefits but not on less respect. Team disruption can easily take place when individual members have complaints about other not showing deference toward them. Therefore it is awfully crucial for the leader to ensure a team atmosphere that guarantees mutual respect and regard. In outclass teams, members can disagree, fight and even exchange feelings that hurt but they never let somebody show disrespect to their team members.

•2.       No back biting

I call it a team-killer. The surest way to damage team spirit is convince members about backbiting. It is a proven method to wipe out a sense of belongingness in a team. Negative discussions and information exchange about those who are absent with irrelevant people result in further misunderstanding and conflicts. Meetings in the parking lot, cafeterias and health clubs provide an easy platform for backbiters to poison team spirit. These backbiters later on become backstabbers for their own team members.

If leaders sincerely wish their teams to be high-performing; they need to facilitate a culture of honest and open communication between members.

•3.       No blame game

Blame-game is the favorite sports of ineffective teams. Instead of taking responsibility of their actions and behaviors, members enjoy putting the blame on someone else's shoulders.

This surly gives teams a temporary relief but injures performance in the longer run.

The antidote to blaming is accountability.  But why members chose blaming over accountability? Because when we take us to accountability; we have to embrace some pain. As human beings; we want to avoid pain at every cost. Therefore, blaming others emerges as an easy way out.  If teams continue to blame each other for their lack of performance, a big disaster is waiting for them.

Stop blaming, take responsibility.

•4.       No mocking or shouting

Leaders can't afford to let anyone shout at other team members. Shouting is a sign of ignorance. When teams have answers they feel no need to shout. Teams should understand that the loudest voice may not be the wisest voice. Sarcastic remarks will only produce enmity between members. Enmity should be replaced with enormity; of ideas, reverence, performance and purpose.

 •5.       No personal attacks

Teams are supposed to separate their egos from the professional job in hand. However, with no trouble, members slip in to personal stuff during meetings organized to discuss professional matters. Personal attack in a team setting is synonymous to slaughtering an individual's team bond.  Whether privately or in public, attacking others directly doesn't help teams achieve common goals.

I have noticed that even leaders sometimes start attacking your people without any prudent reason. I suggest leaders to hold on to their anger, stay calm and instead of attacking choose to coach and counsel people.

•6.       No burdens of the past

Successful teams and leaders don't get stuck in the past. Commit yourself for no looking back to search each other's weaknesses and putting others in a discomfited situation.  Past is history; we can't edit it; change it; modify it; hide it; but at least we can learn from it.

One reason for team failure is the members' unwillingness to forget the negativity, anger, and pain associated with the past. How can you allow your history devastate your future?

Building and sustaining teams is a tough job. Teams don't come together effortlessly. Leaders have to invest time, effort and energy to bring the best in teams. One way of achieving this hard task is to develop the sensitivity to consistently say NO to the above behaviors.  Saying NO to these undesirable acts will prepare you to demonstrate strong willingness to say YES to a long lasting team success.

 About the author: QAISER ABBAS

QAISER ABBAS is the Founder & Chief Inspiring Officer, Possibilities®, a leading management training and consulting company, operating globally with head office in Pakistan.

He is the author of ‘Outclass Teams', first book on team-building written by a Pakistani author. The book is based on a team building model that Qaiser has been practically utilizing in building teams for various organizations in and abroad such as Nestle Pakistan, Coca Cola, P&G, Ufone, Nokia-Siemens, Telenor, Packages, Crescent Group, Engro Chemicals, ORIX leasing Dubai & Oman, Pakistan Tobacco Company, Habib Bank, Total Parco, and Hino Pak Motors etc.

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