Building a Resilient Team
Team dynamics, two words guaranteed to strike fear into the hearts of middle management. On a good day, team dynamics takes on a congratulatory, high-five feel. It’s a time when employees showcase strengths, problem solve without prodding and come together to find solutions as a team. On a bad day, every member of this rock star team takes on lead-singer status, unable to find consensus, which translates into delays and unmotivated solutions. Knowing the implications of the bad days, it makes sense to solidify the magic of the good ones.
So, what’s necessary to take a team from good to great? It’s a popular question and a holy grail of sorts for those tasked with management. Without a proven roadmap to success it’s hard to quantify which efforts will generate consistent employee engagement. This scenario sends many managers into problem-solving mode, looking to apply short-term fixes like quarterly bonuses and flexible schedules to boost employee morale and stop the team dynamic free-fall. Unfortunately, these fixes only provide a short-term injection of satisfaction that fail to address one important issue, ¬¬the day-to-day lack of trust between employee and employer.
Unlike the anticipation of a quarterly bonus or a win securing a flexible schedule, building trust with an employee is not a one and done effort. It’s an ongoing process that requires a balance in management style that’s neither too hands off nor micromanagement. Striking this happy medium is often different with each employee and just when you figure out what works for one person, there will be another employee who craves the opposite.
Know Thy Employee
Finding the oasis of trust requires figuring out what motivates the individual such as finding ways to work toward a common goal, encouraging personal growth and regularly calling on the talents of the workforce.
Steps in the Path
- Replace fear with empowerment – Fear might prove effective in the short-term but it’s not a sustainable environment in the long-term. Instead of threats originating at the c-level and veiled incentives, find ways to match individual tasks to skills. We all like to shine at what we are good at. Those who excel can then evolve into great instructors, further perfecting skills as they teach them.
- Problem Solve En Masse – There’s no telling where a good solution might come from, so why not ask the team? Merely inquiring for an opinion begins a dialogue and the resulting collaboration becomes a direct route to teamwork and trust building. Even if an idea isn’t presentation ready, the effort of the teamwork can bond a team for the long-term.
- Say Thanks – A measurement of happiness at work lies in direct relation to feeling appreciated on the job. Regularly receiving gratitude for work done well is an easy and free way to inspire people and to share the benefit with others. Gratitude is a short-term perk with the potential to create team dynamics designed to benefit the individual and the organization over the long haul.