Are we team players?

by Sam on June 14, 2011

Your company has done just about everything possible to increase efficiency in these resource strapped times. The last, and often untapped, available competitive advantage is teamwork. As Abraham Lincoln quoted from Mark 3:25, “If a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”

Nearly every organization professes teamwork as a cherished value. Indeed, of those that have chosen to publish a set of core values, most have included it in that set. But few are taking direct action to make teamwork a reality within their ranks.

Let’s begin at the beginning–always a good place to start–with a definition. Only when we are clear on what teamwork is can we hold ourselves and others accountable for it. The best way to do this is through behavioral expectations that show employees exactly what teamwork looks like.

Twelve Expectations for Teamwork

1. Treat your coworkers, your manager, and people you supervise with respect.

2. Recognize the contributions of others; praise and credit them for their accomplishments.

3. Support, defend, and guard the backs of your coworkers.

4. Respect other’s needs, priorities, and schedules.

5. Value all ideas; remain open-minded to the suggestions of your coworkers.

6. Be on time for meetings and anytime your presence is required.

7. Contribute actively and constructively to meetings without dominating them.

8. Give your coworkers the information they need, when they need it.

9. Seek and take advantage of opportunities to make coworkers more successful and help them reach their potential.

10. Learn what expectations other teams have of your team and strive to meet them.

11. Resolve disagreements with others directly, honestly, and professionally.

12. Put the welfare of the team, the department, and the company above your own.

Breakthrough! Apply the expectations to get your “snowflakes” to stick together.

A. Reveal and discuss them during employment selection interviews. Learn about candidates by asking them to choose and explain three that will be the easiest for them to fulfill and three that will represent a somewhat greater challenge for them. Don’t let them dance around this request; you’ll learn so much from their choices.

B. Conduct a workshop during orientation on your expectations for teamwork taught by a high-ranking executive, preferably the CEO.

C. Each month feature one of the twelve expectations in your company communication vehicles such as newsletters or intranet.

D. See that teamwork is continually preached from first-line supervisors through senior management.

E. Embed these expectations into your performance management/appraisal system.

F. Provide positive and negative consequences–visible to all–for teamwork or the lack thereof.

G. On a regular basis give your direct reports start-stop-continue feedback on their team play. Ask your boss for the same.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>