Let’s start with a quick definition of team and Team Intelligence.
Definition of team: A group of people with a full set of complementary skills required to complete a task, job, or project.
Definition of Team Intelligence: Teams who work to achieve better results as a cohesive unit. When a team is at the ultimate level of team intelligence, they’re aligned in their values, firing on all cylinders, championing each other and winning together.
Developing a culture of empathy is one of the most invaluable team development investments a company can make.
Without empathy, people and company culture have the propensity to be self-absorbed and self-fulfilling which ultimately affects every aspect of a business from employees to suppliers and clients.
Practising Empathy in the workplace
The great news is empathy is a learned capacity and should be learned experientially, as in practice in the field in real time. The key to demonstrating empathy is through effective listening, asking the right questions and most importantly identifying the person’s feelings.
There is extraordinary power in showing up and saying ‘it’s up to me’ because when you take responsibility and action for a situation you have the power to make things happen, regardless of the goal. This takes on a whole other level of performance and satisfaction when teams take on accountability for each other.
Practising Accountability in the Workplace
Give up blame! Giving up pointing the finger at others for why goals or responsibilities are not getting done, and owning the problems of colleagues, staff or customers is a great example of how to put accountability into practice. Overcoming this requires us to point the finger at ourselves to see where we may, in fact, be the problem, not other people or factors.
Check out the Accountability Ladder in this article: Accountability: The Number 1 Habit for Success. It’s something we show teams to help them understand why they may not be getting the results they want out of life personally or professionally.
Connection, capability and commitment are all fundamental elements of high achieving teams. But what is the spark that ignites the fire to propel these winning teams? Mindsets, the right ones, like these 10 mindsets of champion teams.
Have you heard of Carol Dweck? Her talk on mindsets and how to embrace the learning curve for success is very popular with the school communities I’ve been working with and it’s edging its way very quickly into the Corporate environment.
The book that had an exponential effect on my personal and business success is the Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. It is an international bestseller, because of its simplicity and easily actionable fundamentals for a mindset of success, no matter what that looks like to you.
It’s safe to say most businesses employ smart people or at least the best possible suited to a role in order to work with fellow team members to achieve a shared vision. Collectively, we call this Team Intelligence™ (TeamQ™) and when activated it can give you access to completely unique points of view to achieving success.
TeamQ™ is all about teams working together intelligently to improve performance, communication and overall satisfaction. It’s where teams build collaborative relationships, communicate openly, and identify strategies for moving forward as a cohesive unit and working to their full potential.
Having a team who are nimble or agile (having the ability to move quickly and easily) is a highly sought after ability for achieving peak performance.
Really, it’s about being able to adapt to change, whilst limiting the touch points to get things done.
Change, whether at work or home, whether perceived as positive or negative, generally requires us to adapt either in the way we think or the way we do.
Creating a Nimble, Agile Team
For success in building your agile team, it is important to acknowledge the level of discomfort change can bring. It is only when we understand the overall impact that we can effectively facilitate transition. This is where the power of Team Intelligence™ comes into play so well.
What’s something that if removed would destroy the most powerful government, successful business, thriving economy, influential leadership, or even the deepest love? Trust.
Trust is fundamental to the success of all good relationships and research shows that people who trust each other are more productive, feel a higher degree of loyalty to their team and organisation and give outstanding service.
Developing Trust in the Workplace
One of the best ways to generate trust with your team is to demonstrate it. Show your confidence in them. Allow people to be the expert they are. Listen with respect to their unique knowledge and insights.
But if your team has trust issues we highly recommend reading this in depth article on trust. It identifies Typical Trust Issues in Teams, fascinating statistics and a powerful TED Talk on ‘How to rebuild trust’.
Always think of building a trust piggy bank, keep making deposits for the best returns on your investment.
Communication that is honest, authentic and safe, person to person and not position to position is at the heart of Team Intelligence™. Communication that allows time for learning who your team members are, what drives them and what they are doing for the organisation. Communication, the thing that we do all the time, every day – our freely available superpower.
Helping Teams to Effectively Communicate
This may seem like a Communication for Dummies kind of tip but it’s important to remember that communicating effectively is more than what we say. It’s a collaborative process of sending and receiving messages: verbally and nonverbally. At its basic, your message has three main components:
And then one of the most important things you need to do for effective communication is: Listen!
Listening is an invaluable skill to master because it addresses a fundamental need that everyone wants to be heard and understood. It is a great conduit for empathy, for gaining clarity on a situation at a much deeper level. It is essential for any type of problem-solving whether its innovative or a crisis.
It’s also important to listen to yourself. Take time to let your own knowledge / research / discussions / learning and intuition sink in.
We all want success and embracing the learning curve is key to getting the success we want – in whatever form that takes, big or small, from winning a contract, daily productivity to improving a relationship.
Why is it important to embrace the learning curve?
Because life is a learning curve you’re on, you might as well embrace it! When you realise this it is easier to see there are opportunities to improve and develop then your success in any given moment is bound to increase.
You might also see that time is on our side and practising even the smallest changes from what we learn daily can have a huge impact on our success and SuccessCulture.
Read this article on how to get from stuck to success by recognising those powerful moments of ‘a way forward!’
I is for Innovation
Give people a chance to be innovative. Each person on your team will have a unique view and understanding of your business. They will also have a unique perspective on how to approach a problem. Ask for the opinions and ideas of everyone in your team, and if you can, ask them in the presence of each other. Get them understanding each other’s unique perspective.
Getting your team to tap into their TeamQ™ and draw out each other’s knowledge will enhance their agility and ability to think outside the box. As will allowing the space to fail. Failure is a perfect human trait and a vital part of the process for success in innovation.
When we allow ourselves the space to fail freely, we lessen our fear of failure – one of the biggest roadblocks to success. Equally, when we give others the space to fail (and learn from it), the opportunity for innovation is created.
Here’s a 2-minute read with 6 Steps to Team Innovation
“What are you grateful for?” It’s a question we regularly put to teams and individuals on our programs. Taking a moment to be grateful can have a grounding effect, but also has an amazing effect on lifting your spirit and the spirit of others. It makes you smile, perhaps laugh and works as a fantastic ice-breaker for the start of a meeting.
Clinical research has shown that writing down what you are grateful for daily will reduce stress, manage depression and increase mental health.
I love and use The Five Minute Journal. The best 5 minutes of my day are spent reflecting on the generally small but incredibly lovely things that have happened to me each day. Even when things are tough, it helps me to stay positive.
Practicing Gratitude in the Workplace
Like all humans, we want to be appreciated, so one of the easiest ways to demonstrate gratitude is to say “thank you”. “Thank you for taking the time to think this through”, “thank you for making that point”, “thank you for listening”, “thanks for meeting me in your busy day”, “thanks for replying so quickly”. On the outside “thank you” might seem like a small gesture but has the ability to leave a big impression.
A healthy culture of evaluation and feedback is like rocket fuel for growth and development. Unfortunately, in dysfunctional organisations, it can come across as confrontational when what you really need to project is safety. Safety is a fundamental human need. Your team need to know where they stand – today and in the long run. One of the best ways a team leader can do this is to provide regular feedback on performance and clarify goals, especially during times of change.
Developing a Positive Culture around Evaluation and Feedback
The trouble with feedback is that it is often heard like criticism which could counter the feeling of safety. To start incorporating a culture where feedback is welcomed and acknowledged for the powerful fuel it is for breakthroughs in growth and development, set up the right environment for casual, non-confrontational discussion. Buy a coffee, ask questions, listen for what is really happening and remove any sense of judgment. Remember to demonstrate your trust, person to person, and you might even get to know each other a little better.
Invest in the time to put your people first! People who are ‘loved’ (appreciated and valued as a human being) are more likely to be loyal, engaged and the best advocates and champions for your business. The best begets the best!
How to start nurturing team relationships?
Get them together. Get them sharing about themselves, what they value (what they spend time on most outside of work), what they hope for in their career, what they read, listen to, follow. Then get them discussing their aligned values and your corporate values – this will drive the business forward.
Imagine being in a meeting where you discover you have not one but two Olympic level athletes on your team. Imagine in that same meeting you find out the reason why the guy in accounts puts his hand up for extra shifts is so he can afford to go on missions to help people in other countries. Imagine sitting with your team and crying together from being moved and inspired by other colleagues in the room.
This actually happened! I witnessed it and I wrote about it here:
Your workplace is full of champions and you can draw them out using Team Intelligence™ and turn them into workplace champions – people who voluntarily take interest in the success of their colleagues, who want the very best for them and will help, support, and champion them.
No matter what it is you are hoping to achieve always enquire why you are doing it in the first place. Simply start by asking “why?”
The concept of Start with Why comes from the book of the very same title and its author Simon Sinek best explains how exploring this question is essential to team development.
Every person, business and organisation on the planet knows what they do. Some even know how they do it… but very few know WHY they do what they do. Why do you get out of bed every morning? Why does your business or organisation exist? And, most importantly, why should anyone else care? Your Why is the purpose, cause or belief that inspires you to do what you do. When you think, act and communicate starting with Why,you can inspire others.
When you understand your why you can then go on to communicate them and inspire others to achieve your goal for success.
We truly believe that Starting with Why is part of 5 Important Principles for Success.
So there you have it, some of the most important values that contribute to optimal team performance: Team Intelligence™.
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