Most of us work in teams, sometimes multiple teams, both within our workplace and across other organisations. When things go smoothly, we tend not to notice – but when the team is not working well, it causes all sorts of problems.
From my experience, effective teams comprise Team Members who have real clarity about what is the job of the team and what is not the job of the team. Team members can experience pressure to undertake tasks that are not their job, (especially in rural and/or under resourced areas), which distracts from their main task and effects team outcomes.
Once the job of the team is clear, we need to ensure Team members pull together and in the same direction. Teams are built on relationships and how we behave impacts our relationships. One of the people I respect is Marilyn Krichko and her book, The Rowers’ Code. She uses the rowing metaphor to demonstrate that, if anyone is out of sync, it impacts all the others and the boat. She suggests that Team members develop a Team Code of Behaviour, or ‘ways of working’, which include 7 Key Principles. The Team Code lists both ways to behave and things not to do.
All Teams get into troubled waters at times and members may not behave well, spending more time in negativity than in undertaking the work of the team. Here I use Patrick Lencioni’s The Five Dysfunctions of a Team as a reference to identify behaviours that derail teams. These show us when we are off course and the Team Code can assist to bring the team back on track.
The NQ branch of the Australian Association of Social Workers recognises the vital importance of teamwork and is hosting a workshop that I will be presenting: Pulling Together in Teams. We will work through the 7 Principles and the Five Dysfunctions, with practical activities, so we can identify when issues are developing and have a tool kit of strategies to address them.
The workshop is being held in Townsville on Thursday 13 July. For more information click here
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