The beach towels are folded and stored, the suitcases are back in the loft and we’re panicking about work we didn’t finish before escaping to the sun – it must be autumn. This is a time of high activity at work, no more excuses and a chance to shine. And for us it’s conference season.
So what are the hot topics making people sit up and listen? Resilience, wellbeing at work and managing the next generation have been big this year but there are two subjects that never go out of fashion. And one of them is about the dark art of creating a team from a group.
Some teams aren’t teams at all, they are just a group of people who happen to report to the same manager and come together for meetings and updates. Just because you call yourselves a team it doesn’t mean you are one. Members have to work to become a truly cohesive; effective joint force and certain conditions need to be in place for this to happen. High performance teams create magic (and get rather fantastic results) so if you’re the team’s leader, it is your job to identify what that magic is and how you work it on your team.
You may be coming to hear us speak on the subject this year, and if so, we’ll be revealing our top tips for team transformation. If not, here is a sneaky peak – our top three.
- Craft a team mind-set. No amount of skill, knowledge and experience will paper over the cracks of people whose heads are in the wrong place. So work on developing a team attitude that values support and good relationships, alongside challenge and a focus on results.
- Value differences but find some common ground. Some teams attract people who are similar in work style, some are a bit wider ranging. Either can work really well if you have the same sense of commitment and focus on the end shared goal. But you do need to agree some communal ways of behaving. It helps you co-exist and know what to expect from each other. It also helps those outside of the team to have a consistent experience of you and recognise how someone from your team operates and contributes.
- Develop a taste for change. High performance team working is all about adaptability. If you crave stability and sameness in all things, change is going to hurt. So, encourage each other to see change as energising. We’re so used to telling ourselves and each other that no one likes change, we’ve lost sight of the fact that lots of us love it. And if you’re not one of those people, you can still learn to love it, but making change a part of your way of working. High performance teams do just that.
So whatever this season has in store for you, everything works better when groups become teams. What of the other conference subject in making people sit up and listen? Too much on the autumn “to do” list for now, so more on that next time.