By Edwin C. Ebreo
As a Training Consultant and Team Building Facilitator in the Philippines for many years, I have learned quite a few things that help strengthen teamwork. I’ve learned that building a high performance team takes more than just a weekend of jumping off trees. Failing to recognize what needs to be done will hinder your team building efforts. Here are my recommendations:
- Leadership skills in building and sustaining teamwork. Often, leaders approach me to help them fix their team. By it, they actually mean fix the attitude of their team members. What they often miss is that the behavior of the team members is often a reaction to their leader’s attitude and behavior. Leaders need to recognize that they might be causing the dysfunction in the team and learn how to develop themselves to be better leaders. They need to appreciate what they bring to the team both in terms of contribution due to their strengths and challenges due to their weaknesses. They need to learn how to facilitate the team’s growth from forming, storming, norming to performing. They need to learn to build trust, enhance collaboration, building commitment, make everyone accountable and get the team to focus on result. These are an important set of skills that leaders must seriously consider enhancing so they can lead their team better.
- Assertive Communication – I notice that as a people, we Filipinos are generally not assertive. We beat around the bush, avoid confrontation and conflicts. The funny thing is (Which is not at all funny), the more we avoid conflict the more we have them. You see, what we avoid is productive conflict. When we do that, the easiest thing to do is to jump to conclusion about people’s abilities and motives. From them grows interpersonal conflict. A lot of the people I meet in training find it difficult to be assertive, even if they know that it is exactly what they need to be if they’re to clarify issues, address them, identify opportunities and work together to take advantage of them. My recommendation for addressing this gap in your organization is to attend a training as a team so that norms can be established and use the skills you’ve learned in the program to improve collaboration in your team
- Team Collaboration tools – There’s Six Sigma, Six Thinking Hats, Problem Solving Decision Making methodologies, agile methods, etc. There are a number of tools out there. I notice that some teams have formed the habit of knowing about these tools but failing to infuse it in their day-to-day culture. I mean, what is the use of knowing without using? I think the most important thing to do as far as this topic is concern is to adopt one or two methodologies that fit your culture and really make it part of your work processes.
- Workplace Savvy for team members – many team members are new, fresh out of college. They go to the place of work with their college student mindsets and it takes them long to shed them. I believe that there is a way to shorten their learning curve If they are properly introduced to their being part of this team, recognize how they are aligned (or not) with the organization’s direction and learn how to work successfully with themselves, their team mates, their bosses and their customers. When members are more aware and have ownership of the work they are performing, it is easy to show them the line of sight between what they do and what the team is trying to achieve.