Last month I stressed the importance of trustworthy team members in creating effective teamwork. So if you have trust in your team and still don’t have outstanding teamwork, what is missing? At the broadest level, the answer is: CLEAR GOALS. If trust depends on doing what you say you’re going to do, then first you must say what it is that you’re going to do.
In organizations, this means having: 1) a clear vision, 2) clear core values and 3) clear roles and rewards. Where are you headed, how do people succeed in your organization, and who’s going to do what? This probably sounds elementary doesn’t it? You’d be surprised how many leaders can’t tell you succinctly what these are in their organizations.
- Vision: Is your goal to be the world’s largest manufacturer of flea collars for small dogs, or to be the Midwest’s most profitable boutique manufacturer of specialty flea collars for dogs of all sizes?
- Core Values: For someone to succeed in your team, is it more important for them to challenge your thinking and bring you new ideas (Innovation), or is it more important for them to stroke your ego and tell you that you’re always right (Political skills)?
- Roles and rewards: Who is responsible and accountable for generating sales in your organization? Are they rewarded for individual effort and for any kind of sales, or are they rewarded for teamwork with other functional areas and the kinds of sales that will help to achieve the organizational vision?
Having worked with both, I can testify that there are radical differences between teams that have trust and clear goals and those that don’t. Teams that don’t spend a great percentage of their time and energy focused inward engaged in what I call CPR (Confusion, Politics, and Rancor). Communication is poor, conflicts are frequent and destructive, and team members are busy building and protecting their respective “turfs” or individual areas of power. There is no incentive to share information; it is power to be hoarded for the next struggle for dominance among members. Does any of this sound familiar? Then you have an exciting opportunity to improve the performance of your team dramatically!
By contrast, teams that have trustworthy members and clear goals spend their time and energy focused outward enthusiastically achieving the vision of the organization. Communication is effective and focused, conflicts are resolved constructively, and information is shared freely. Does this sound like your team? Then take a moment to congratulate yourself on great leadership!
Assuming you have selected trustworthy people on your team, the causal chain works like this: Decreased ambiguity/Increased agreement leads to Trust, which leads to Teamwork, which leads to Achievement, Enjoyment, and Success.
- Technique #1: Have a clear vision statement for your organization that is inspirational and easily stated. Keep it in plain sight, and repeat it often.
- Technique #2: Have a clear and succinct statement of the core values of your organization. Keep it in plain sight, and if you want to be a credible leader, then be absolutely certain that you walk the talk.
- Technique #3: Be sure that the members of your team know what their roles are and what they are accountable for, and only reward them for actions that help to achieve your organizational vision.