„Havoc all around. People accusing each other, constantly playing the blame game. Locked in silos, everyone was stuck in problems dazed and confused, feeling humiliated and disrespected. It was a nasty game that started all over again each working Monday. Everybody wanted to get out of there but nobody knew how. Insanity, hurt, despair.”
Have you experienced either as a member or a manager one or more of the aspects mentioned above? If yes you might want to consider applying the TEAM formula to lead a team into a process that enables them to “heal” and repair some of the damage that might has been created in the past.
T as in Transfer
Often, individuals or teams tend to be stuck in problems and issues, having lost a sense of potential solutions and a vision to lead them out of their misery. In such a case it is crucial to make a conscious transfer switch from “problem” to “solution”, both in behavior and attitude.
You could borrow a few typical questions from solution-focused coaching to take a team with you on this problem-to-solution journey. Reflect together on topics like
- Even though our situation might be bad, what is still working well?
- What do you want instead?
- What could be a solution?
- What needs to happen to make the solution feasible?
If there would be one single word that I wanted you to remember in this team process it would be the simple word instead. For me it has a magical power that forces a team to leave its problem paralysis. Ask: “What do you / do we need instead?” and after having received an initial answer work together with the team towards making this a reality.
The solution-focused reflection process was once invented by Steve de Shazer.
You may find a good website on the topic here: http://www.focusonsolutions.co.uk/solutionfocused/
The word “instead” and other effective interventions are mentioned in this excellent book by Dr. Manfred Prior: https://www.amazon.de/MINI-MAX-INTERVENTIONS-Manfred-Prior/dp/178583116X/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
E as in Expectations
Occasionally, team members lack an understanding of “where to go” and of the “what is my part”. Unclarified expectations in the team could be a reason for this. One of the key aspects of a high-performance team is that everybody knows his/her specific role/duty and, furthermore, knows where the team is heading (goal). Make this clear from the very beginning of the team forming process.
For further reading: http://www.quickbase.com/blog/management-tip-setting-expectations-with-your-team
A as in Appreciation
Respect and appreciation for everbody’s contribution in an organization are among the top-5-factors in a stepstone survey on the topic of “Working happily”.
Feelings with a strong negative touch like guilt or fear very often lead to an expression that can be harmful: accusations, aggressions, finger-pointing. Receiving this behavior, many people tend to react in the same manner, furthermore accusing, blaming others and being aggressive. To exit this vicious circle it can be very supportive to focus on appreciative aspects with the team. You could, for example, start a regular meeting with a question asking for positive feedback from every participant. Or you could make it a continuous habit of team members to collect appreciative feedback for each other via meetings or feedback boxes.
Appreciative inquiry (AI) is a powerful instrument that enables teams to develop from a present (with problems) to a future that comprises a vision that is both attractive and irresistible. Here you will find a short and creative video on the topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzW22wwh1J4
Jürgen Appello, author or “Management 3.0”, introduced the idea of using “Kudo cards”. These are a written and public recognition of a colleague for something he or she has contributed to the team. A Kudo is not just given top-down but peer-to-peer, across departments and organizations, anyone can publicly recognize someone else’s work. It’s a way to break down hierarchical limitations and to encourage everyone to offer instant feedback.
Find more information here: https://management30.com/product/kudo-cards/
If you want to find out more about the variety of appreciation activities, you might want to read “The 5 languages of appreciation in the workplace” by Gary Chapman and Paul White. It is much fun to read and illustrates that a) there are different ways of sharing appreciation with someone and b) different people have different biases towards the five mentioned appreciation “languages”. The five “languages” by the way are: words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, tangible gifts, appropriate physical touch.
A helpful website might be for you: http://www.appreciationatwork.com/
Self-organization as part of agile teams is a modern and effective concept. And at the same time, many teams have found out that it is quite helpful to have a facilitator with the team who supports the team in getting organized and setting it up in the best possible manner. To get a fresh look from the outside from someone who is not too deep into daily business can be rather helpful for a team.