We have seen that just assembling a group of people doesn’t make them a team, nor does calling them a team. Unless effort is put in to building this group into a team they will remain just a group of individuals and fail to achieve their full potential.
We have seen also that the most effective teams are filled with volunteers. They are not volunteers because they have volunteered to join, they may have been instructed to do so. They are volunteers because they have deliberately chosen to actively share the same journey as their team mates. They have chosen to risk being dependent upon the rest of the team in order to achieve the goal that they have all volunteered to share with each other; their shared and common purpose.
We have seen that team members are committed to each other choosing to be accountable to each other and jointly committed to the common goal. They recognise that their success is not just dependent upon the team but the team’s success is their success. This is more important than achieving individual glory.
We have learned that effective teams are made of people who choose to collaborate with each other. No individual’s job is done until the whole team’s job is done. So, when they have finished their task a question they have is “How can I help?” Team members also seek to assist each other by making it easier for each other to do the job in hand. They ask the question: “How can we do it better?”
We have seen those teams that achieve exceptional performance through synergy, that is performing way beyond expectations, demonstrate six characteristics:
They have a clear purpose to which all the team members buy-in.
They have clear roles so everyone knows what they are doing. This establishes their functional roles but also extends to the way every team member contributes to how the team works together.
They voluntarily accept the leadership of the leader and the leadership of specific tasks pass to the team member who is best equipped. The team members empower the team leader to serve them as leader.
They have effective processes so that everyone knows how to work together and this forms the platform from which greater gains can be made.
They share solid, trust based relationships that not only allow them to work collaboratively when it’s all going well but enable them to thrive when things get tough.
They communicate effectively because this is the lubrication that enables the team to work effectively. We will focus on this in the next module.
The Christ centred servant leader’s prime focus is to grow and establish the team so it can achieve synergy. They enjoy exceptional achievement as its members work collaboratively and cohesively to achieve their shared purpose. They recognise that they are only successful when the team as a whole is successful. In this way the team and its individual members all achieve their full potential in God’s service.
As you have worked through this lesson you have been considering how your team compares to the characteristics we have been considering. Appendix 1 contains a simple, questionnaire about your team which gives insight into how close your team is to the ideal we have been considering. Complete that questionnaire.
In the light of the results of the questionnaire, what you have learned about the characteristics of a highly effective team and what you have learned from the previous lesson about effective leaders? Work out your action plan to move your team towards achieving exceptional results.
Return to the studies on Emotional Intelligence and assess how you can develop the emotional intelligence of your team.
Read Pat MacMilan’s book “The Performance Factor” which fills out the detail of the material we have just studied.
Further investigate the Myers Briggs Temperament Inventory and Belbin’s Team Roles Reports and consider how you may be able to use them to grow your team.
The next module is Leading through Relationships. The primary focus of this is communications in the context of servant leadership. As we have seen effective communications is the lubrication that makes collaborative working actually work.
This module is about more than simply how to communicate verbally. It stresses the importance that both the speaker and the listener take responsibility to ensure the success of the communication. It also highlights the need to recognise that different people need different styles of communication. In support of team working it also reviews an approach to running meetings that enable teams to share ideas, concerns and enthusiasm in a manner that is consistent with the ideals we have been considering. This is referred to as de Bono’s Thinking Hats.
MacMillan, P.,The Performance Factor – Unlocking the Secrets of Teamwork (2001), Broadman and Holman Publishers, ISBN 080542375-3.
Belbin, R.M., Teams Roles at Work (2010), Elsevier Butterworth-Heinmann, ISBN 978-1856178006
Belbin, R.M., Management Teams Why the Succeed or Fail (2004), Elsevier Butterworth-Heinmann, ISBN 978-075065910-6
Egolf, D.B, Chester, S.L., Forming Storming Norming Performing: Successful Communication in Groups and Teams, iUniverse Inc, ISBN 978-146209394-6
Griffin R.W., Moorhead G., Organizational Behavior: Managing People and Organizations, Cengage Learning , ISBN 978-0538478137