New Leaders, 10 Gritty Questions to Define Teamwork
by Kate Nasser |
Leaders, what behavior do you expect among team members? This is not a trivial question especially if you are new to leadership.
How you define teamwork shapes how you will inspire, lead, and facilitate or solve team difficulties.
Beyond the expectation that all work together to produce success is often the unstated hidden set of expectations that can silently unsettle or even destroy teamwork.
If you are a new leader, it’s valuable to sit back and admit to yourself your definition of teamwork. With clarity of your basic beliefs, you and the teams can have a better discussion to define teamwork.
10 Gritty Questions to Better Define Teamwork
- Does teamwork mean blunt frankness, diplomatic honesty, or ultimate polite respect? Team members have diverse styles. One blunt team member can offend others. One ultra polite team member can confuse others and fall short. What do you value and expect of them?
- Does teamwork require caring for each other personally? If yes, to what extent? What if a team member has a serious illness in their family and amasses debt? Does teamwork mean that all show empathy and donate money to help out? Can a person be a good team member and not do that?
- What if people don’t like each other personally but pull together to achieve success? Does that meet your definition of teamwork?
- If one team member has a critical specialized skill or achieves more, does that entitle them to extra respect, special treatment, or more recognition from you? It happens and your view of it impacts teamwork.
- Do you expect the team to work out their own interpersonal difficulties? There is much debate about this today. Some say yes and others see the leader as a valuable team facilitator.
- What do you expect of existing team members when new members join? Would you expect them to actively welcome team members for quick integration? What if they are a bit skeptical and hold back to see what team members have to offer? Is that teamwork to you?
- How will your teams work with other teams? Great teamwork within a team can sometimes stifle cross teamwork. What is your view and how would you address this issue?
- Tight team member relationships produce one of the toughest teamwork issues – whistle blowing. What would you want a team member to do if aware of unethical behavior, bullying, or major mistakes by another team member? Is whistle blowing a duty or disloyalty to the team?
- Disagreements occur. What place and purpose do they have in teamwork? Do you expect high levels of harmony or do you see value in discord?
- How will you assess teamwork? By the interaction and end results or just end results? If you view only the end results, the team may think your expectations of their interaction as inconsistent and illogical.
When a leader asks me to improve team function, I ask the leader to paint their view for me and I speak separately with the team members. The comparison unearths the gaps and sketches a road map to high performance and success.
What is teamwork to you? I look forward to understanding your definition and working with you and your teams!
From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on customer service & experience, teamwork, and leading change. Kate turns interaction obstacles into business success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.