Blog Archives


March 2012 Archives

Teamwork Begins as a Mindset

Published on: Mar 23, 2012 | Tags: General, Team Work, Team Leadership, Empowerment, Organizational Development, Management, Systems

As I talk with training and development professionals about leadership or management development programs, many indicate they plan to include a course on teambuilding, teamwork, or simply teams. They have a list of course topics and it is one of them. Other topics might include: 

  • Managing People
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Feedback
  • Coaching and Counseling
  • Delegation
  • Planning
  • And the list goes on…

 These courses are seen as the basics managers need, and many times, are developed from training providers’ offering list. This basic list has been used for generations. The courses on these lists have been developed over time, with occasional updates, yet they are still influenced by historic scientific management principles. The management principles that are embedded deep within our psyche.Brain

 Those principles do not address the social realities of organizational life. They fail to position a group of people in an organization with a correct understanding of the nature of what it means to be a social system within a social system, even though that accurately defines a team.

 If a team is by nature a social system within a social system, then the inherent social realities in that system need to be understood by those who lead groups of people.  For instance, it is a  reality in a social system that changing any part of the system, requires every other part of the system to adapt to that change. That means that if you take any action, or fail to act, in relation to any person in your group there is some impact on everyone else in the group. If we consider the course list above, then: 

  • Your management of each individual affects all others on the team.
  • Conflict between any two people and its resolution, or lack thereof, has an impact on the entire team.
  • Feedback, whether counseling or coaching, to a team member and his response affects everyone else on the team.
  • Each person on the team feels the effect of your delegation practices to the rest of the team.
  • Everyone that is a part of your plan influences its success, whether that person helped develop it or not.

 Consider your personal experience and you can probably validate these statements. Adding a teamwork course to the list above will surely limit the probability that the group will become a high performance, collaborative team.

 Teamwork is not a practice among other management or leadership practices. Teamwork is the lens through which all other practices must be seen. Teamwork is a leadership mindset that then becomes each person’s mindset. 

  • When you resolve conflict, you make the choices that have a positive outcome on everyone.
  • Feedback will be provided in a way that ensures the team as well as the individual is strengthened.
  • Teams rely on empowerment and not delegation (see this past blog). When you give work away, you will do so in a way that builds the team.
  •  Your planning process will be inclusive, relying on collaborative input that ensures ownership so the entire team will engage in completing the plan.

 Becoming a team is a mindset first, then if becomes practice. This begins with the leader.

Virtual Teamwork

Published on: Mar 19, 2012 | Tags: General, Team Work, Team Leadership

Virtual teamwork is a reality for many professionals today. Managing remotely, and working in multiple locations, including multiple countries has grown commonplace in several industries. The ability to work together when you are not physically together is now possible because of technology, although the primary tool that appears to be used for interaction is the telephone, which is hardly new technology. There is heavy reliance on email, and videoconferencing as well. Social media are adding to the resources that can be deployed. These technologies serve us well, but they do not remove the challenges that come from the human side of the working equation.

 Learning to blend mobile technology with social interactions that support individual and group achievement is a critical success factor for geographically dispersed teams. The tendencies that hinder face-to-face interactions can be exacerbated by distance and technology.  For instance on conference calls, it is easier to talk over people when you cannot see them and those who prefer not to speak up can remain silent and unnoticed. It is also easier to disengage when others cannot see you. Some use the mute button to disengage, and at times complete other work. It is also difficult to walk down the hall to find the person who is not returning your call or email if you are not in the same location.

 Practices that make groups successful when they are face to face also support success at a distance. A recent article in Investor’s Business Daily   quoted me on how important it is to set and share boundaries. Expectations of mutual respect, openness, support, responsiveness, and embracing diversity should be clear in groups that work in different locations just as in teams that share the same geographical space. Make sure each person considers his action’s impact on others as communication occurs via appropriate technology.

Invesrtors

 As a leader, distance requires greater attention to the quality of social interaction. Excellent meeting facilitation ensures everyone’s participation and contribution, supporting quality outcomes. Technology can improve awareness of each person’s contribution and impact on the team’s results through individual and shared dashboards. Lead your team to explore and discover the blend of technology and personal practices that work. Be open to adapting and changing to determine your best practices related to using technology that supports the interaction necessary to work well together. 

Leading Self: A Case Study

Published on: Mar 12, 2012 | Tags: General, Personality, Trimergent, Self Leadership, Productivity, Mission, Vision, Communication

Many professionals struggle with a lack of clarity and direction in their career. This has a direct impact on life direction as well. We share a common desire to experience purpose, passion, and reward for our work. One young professional found herself in just such a position.

She works for a large healthcare organization in Central Texas that represents many professional opportunities yet, as with most large organizations, can be challenging to navigate in terms of career path. As she sought clarity on the direction of her life and career, she decided to participate in the Trimergent Leadership® System Leading Self course. She said, “I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do career-wise.”

 Decisions

Her participation resulted in a personal mission and vision that were supported by her core values. She also developed a clear understanding of her personality as well as her passions. These, plus the identification of her strengths and weaknesses, positioned her to be true to self.  

“It is definitely a challenge,” she said, “It’s one of those things where you have to be willing to take an honest look at yourself, who you are. It’s extremely powerful. It was extremely eye opening and freeing.” The focus she gained through the Leading Self experience allowed her to know both who she is and who she is not.

The next step was to apply her experience on a day-to-day basis. She developed this ability as she practiced improved communication skills, life management and life balance. “Throughout Leading Self, I learned a lot about timing, being patient and really learning to voice who you are and being okay with that,” she reflected.

Once the course was completed, she possessed clarity and direction. “I was offered a couple of jobs during that time that were just a little outside my most suitable place to work,” she said, “They were things that, over time, would have really drained me. I don’t think that I would have had the awareness to recognize that without Leading Self. I actually turned those offers down.”

In the current economic climate, turning down good job offers is a very bold move. This surprised the people interviewing her and led to another meeting.

“They called me in and said ‘Those were nice offers, why did you turn them down?’” she recounted with a smile. “I was able to be open and honest and tell them why and additionally what I would enjoy doing, and they found a position to meet me where I was. It was pretty incredible that I got to have a hand in finding something I would really enjoy. That all came out of Leading Self.” In addition, she received a significant salary increase.

She credits discovering who she is designed to be to the Leading Self experience. “I’m able to be more of the person I desire to be in more areas of my life,” she said.

 Trimergent Leadership® System Leading Self is available for groups in a 5 day or 10 day format. Individuals can experience it in an 8 session coaching format.

 

Weaving a Social Web

Published on: Mar 05, 2012 | Tags: General, Team Work, Personality, Systems

Connecting people in relationships that result in the ability to work well together may be one of a leader’s greatest challenges. The connection is social and complex. Many variables come into play between people.

As diversity grows in the workplace and the world continues to shrink, this challenge will only grow. People weave a social web in order to come together. It can be a weak web with poor connections, or a strong web with beneficial connections. If the group has been together for any time, the web is complete and functional even if its characteristics do not represent relationships that create positive work connections.

The challenge to weaving a positive social web is diversity, because everyone that is like me is ok – right? Law requires companies to address diversity issues for certain situations. Beyond these, the diversity that challenges leaders includes any way one person is different from another. Those differences create misunderstanding, judgment, critical attitudes and conflict.

One commonly misunderstood difference is extraversion and introversion. Debra Donston-Miller considered this dynamic in a recent article on The Brainyard. My observation that introversion and extraversion are a diversity issue was included in the article. An introvert prefers time to reflect while an extravert wants to talk. They are different in terms of the pace they prefer, the way they make decisions, and the way they deal with change.  A leader may identify this along with several other differences in her team.

You can evaluate this social web by listening, observing, and evaluating the actions and interactions of those you lead. Notice what your team members fail to understand and accept about one another. What do you struggle to accept?

Take a moment and consider the unseen social web that connects you and co-workers. Is it a strong web, supporting personal and group success? If not, how can you improve it?

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