Individually, each of your team members is fantastic. They are smart, hardworking, and committed to excellence. But something isn’t right. And that something happens when they’re in a room together. They don’t seem to relate to each other and you’re not sure why. You just know that it’s affecting the team’s ability to deliver and that worries you.
You’re Not Imagining it, and You Can Improve Your Team’s Culture
Here’s what happens: team members are certainly cordial to each other but it stops there. They don’t laugh, other than very politely. And, in meetings, they seem on edge or bored or both. You’ve sponsored lunches and happy hours with lackluster results.
You know what needs to happen to deliver excellent results: team members need to be comfortable with each other, leverage each others’ strengths, and have some fun. But how? Keep reading!
Cultivating Better Relationship, Results, and Fun At the Same Time!
To transform team members’ lackluster relationships, which contribute to a ho-hum environment where everyone experiences work in boring shades of gray, into the kind of relationships that create a colorful and energizing environment requires:
- Helping team members to understand each others’ strengths and blind spots, and
- Building their skill in leveraging each other’s strengths.
The best way to accomplish these goals is to hold a retreat in which the focus is on learning about each other through an assessment tool and then learning the communication tools to leverage the inevitable differences and to support each other’s blind spots. I prefer the Personality Type (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator via TypeCoach) and problem-solving style (Kirton Adaption-Innovation Inventory) and there are many others. A great facilitator can ensure your team members learn about each other while having a great time.
After you learn about each other’s strengths and blind spots and you’ll laugh as you understand why certain team members haven’t gelled. Yet. You’ll also notice team members having fun and laughing as they understand the perfectly reasonable explanations for the others’ behavior. Importantly, the explanation is NOT that the other person is a jerk!
Next, you want to provide team members with the communication tools to put this newfound understanding to use for the betterment of the team, immediately. The Arudia Win-Win Conversation Model is one such tool. This is because when team members learn the win-win mindset, which replaces the blame-oriented thinking with solutions-focused thinking, they focus on solving problems to meet all needs, not just their own. They are, consequently, more creative and collaborative. This is only one of the many benefits of the Arudia Win-Win Conversation Model.
Second, team members who learn how to use the Arudia Coaching Model and, more generally, coaching skills with each other, instantaneously create the kind of collaboration that fosters respect and creativity and, better relationships. The key to coaching is to ask thoughtful open-ended questions to foster your colleague’s best thinking; you can either follow the entire model below or just one step. The reason coaching brings colleagues is that asking another for his or her thoughts with respect to an issue shows that you value the person’s insight and ability to think through tough challenges. In fact, the use of coaching instead of giving advice demonstrates that you think your colleague has his or her own answers and are interested in them more than you are interested in being the hero. That is the ultimate sign of respect.
Now, ask yourself, how fun is that?!
If this post made you think, share it with friends and colleagues. If you’d like to learn more, download The Tortoise and the Hare and Lead With Aplomb. And, don’t forget to reach out to us with questions and comments.