What is in it for you as a boss?
- Do you find your staff unmotivated, perhaps finding it a chore coming to work?
- Are sickness levels high? Do you feel your employees don’t truly believe in who and what they’re working for?
- Are your staffs personal problems effecting their work?
Research shows that staff who are happy and motivated staff are the most productive.
Whether it’s a functional team, a team of managers, or a project team, people get most done when they work together effectively. So when members of a team don’t work well together, performance and productivity can suffer. That’s not good for anyone.
Have you seen hostility, conflicting goals, and unclear expectations within your teams? These are symptoms of an unhealthy team. To avoid these harmful effects, you need be proactive about improving team performance. And even when a team is meeting its objectives, there’s often room for improvement.
So how can you help your team improve? With good team coaching (as distinct from individual coaching) you can take your team to the next level. It’s a valuable activity, and it’s an essential management and leadership tool.
Team coaching helps people understand how to work better with others. It’s an effective method for showing teams how to reduce conflict and improve their working relationships. The team can then focus on its real work instead of wasting time on internal issues, and achieve its objectives more powerfully.
The coaching will focus on interpersonal skills and interactions instead of on individual development (as you tend to do with individually-focused coaching). The way people act with their teammates, and the way they communicate with one another are important drivers of effective team performance. After all, you can put a lot of high-performing individuals on a team and still have performance problems.
People must learn to work together and understand how to relate to one another, otherwise the team’s output will be less than it could be.
Understanding Team Dynamics
A great place to start your team coaching is to understand the dynamics of your team. This is the process of figuring out how team members relate to one another. We all have different styles of working and communicating, and when we encounter a person with a style that’s different from our own, we can often get frustrated with that person, and fail to recognise his or her unique strengths.
Some people can be “pushier” than others. A pushy person may think everything is going great, however, their teammates might have a different perspective. If one person walks away from conflict, and another speaks their mind and doesn’t back down from an argument, this can lead to poor decision-making and unproductive work.
Personality and behavior assessments are great tools for improving a team’s understanding of its own dynamics, and they give team members a better understanding of why they react to their colleagues in certain ways. This new understanding helps them think about how they can relate to one another more effectively, at the same time that it breeds tolerance by helping people understand that different approaches may be valid in different situations.
Establish Behavior Expectations
Understanding other people’s perspectives is a great way to improve relationships with them. However, teams still need to follow ground rules so they can accomplish their goals. For example, you may know that Harold prefers to avoid conflict, however, you can’t really accept that from him if you also expect him to provide expert opinions that may not match the general consensus.
This is why developing a clear set of behavior and communication expectations is an important aspect of team coaching. The expectations help to build empathy and understanding, and ensure that individual preferences aren’t given more importance than team objectives.
Evaluate Reward and Recognition Systems
Quite often, people have competing values, and these create a major obstacle to team unity and effectiveness. For example, it’s not uncommon for an organisation to promote teamwork, but still reward individual behavior. When this happens, you can naturally expect problems with team members who give personal reward a higher priority than team performance.
With cross-functional teams, departmental or business unit loyalties often get in the way of effective teamwork. When team members have personal goals that don’t match team goals, this can lead to “secret,” hidden behavior. As a team leader, team coaching helps you to identify the sources of competing values and find ways to fix them.