Studies have shown that almost 40% of employees say that working with a great team is their primary reason for staying. So how can you make sure you're leading a collaborative team? Think back to a high pressure situation your team went through - did they stick together, or did they focus on themselves? However your team responded, there are four steps you can take to create team collaboration and accountability:
1. Define Your Purpose
In order to have an accountable team, each team member must know their individual purpose and the goal of the team as a whole. Have you defined your purpose to the team? Take action: ask your team to write down what they think the team is accountable for and see how closely the answers match. Depending on their answers, you may have to take additional steps to get everyone on the same page.
2. Track Team Progress
In order to lead a collaborative team, each team member must have a measurable way to track their progress. This will enable them to see how they're progressing towards their goals, allow them to pivot based on project milestone results and give the team a chance to celebrate their successes throughout the project. Take action: Discuss how you’re tracking progress with your team and find a way to make a visible progress tracker (i.e. whiteboard, poster, etc.) that everyone can see and update.
3. Create a Shared Fate
In order to go from an individual to team mindset, the team must have a shared fate; meaning, whatever happens to the individual happens to everyone. Unless they have a real and meaningful share fate, the team will fracture under pressure – worrying about themselves instead of the group's success. To create this mindset as a leader, you should model the behavior you're hoping to inspire and reward successful collaborative results more than individual performance. Take action: write down a list of behaviors you want to see in your team. Keep track of your own behavior for a week, writing down whether or not you’re emulating those behaviors as well.
4. Work Through Real Issues Together
How important is open and honest communication in the workplace? Research has shown that 99% of employees prefer a workplace where people identify and discuss issues truthfully and effectively. In addition, studies showed that 33% of workers said a lack of open, honest communication has the most negative impact on employee morale.
In order to motivate a team and make it safe for them to process real issues together, there needs to be a strong sense of shared fate and high levels of trust. The first part of this means that the team's level of decision-making authority needs to be clearly defined. The second part requires setting clear performance expectations so that any gaps in performance can be identified. This is crucial because giving honest feedback requires understanding what is expected and identifying what is getting in the way of success. Take action: set-up a time each week for open and honest feedback with your team.
For more on creating accountable teams, check out Revolutionize Teamwork>>