Great team culture is less about a list of characteristics and more about understanding your team, discerning their uniqueness, and working together to achieve remarkable results.
Team members bring their own ideas, experiences, education, and skills to the group to work toward common goals. So when a new member joins the team, the team and its culture changes.
Every addition (or deletion) of a team member changes the team and its culture – some slightly, others significantly.
To complicate matters, it takes one to three years for a new team member to fully integrate with their team and effectively contribute to the team’s shared goals.
If that’s true, how can teams be effective in the interim? And what if team members are added frequently? How does a team continue to make progress, remain productive, and produce results with a continuously evolving team culture?
As I’ve led teams over the years, I’ve asked these same questions. And I must admit that, more than once, I’ve experienced the frustration of not having answers.
As we’ve coached teams and leaders across the country, we’ve learned that there are 3 things every leader must understand about team culture to effectively lead the team.
Here they are…
1. Do you work with a team or a family?
This is an important question – one that every team member needs to be able to answer. And leaders need to understand if the people they lead function as a team or a family.
Neither option – team or family – is inherently better (or worse) than the other. That’s not the point. And, regardless of the discomfort you are feeling in your current situation, it’s more important to know whether you are working with a team or a family than to try to change your team from one to the other.
Every leader (and team) leans one way or the other. And if you are going to serve your team and your organization most effectively, you must know if you are part of a team or a family.
2. How do you define success?
Every organization and every team defines success differently, so leaders and team members must clearly understand what success looks like for their team. Only then can team members begin working toward shared goals.
When you clearly and specifically define success, you’ll get better results.
3. What is the team culture?
To lead a team to grow and improve performance, leaders must understand the team culture.
What does your team do well? What do others say about your team? Does the team regularly execute successful strategies?
Here are a number of questions every team leader can use to identify team culture…
- Do team members value other’s opinions?
- Do they respect management and their peers?
- Do they desire to see each other succeed, or are they jealous of another’s accomplishments?
- Do they have a genuine concern for each other?
- Do they have and appreciate a sense of humor?
- Do they work hard?
- Do they have the freedom to participate in decisions, or do they wait to be told what to do?
- Do they trust each other?
- Does your team possess the experience, passion, and skill to do the job well?
So, how well do you know your team? Are you leading a team or a family? Does the team understand what success looks like? And, is everyone doing their part to achieve it?[reminder]What would you add to the list? How would you describe your team culture?[/reminder]