4th installment of a 5 part series:

Humans are complex. We know this. Yet, organizations still assume that just putting a bunch of talented people together will ensure the success of that team. Unfortunately, it’s just not true. There’s a lot more to creating connected teams and a feeling of community in the workplace. 

A lot of employees believe the most important element of team connectedness is the buy-in of each employee to the company’s mission, vision, and values. Some would suggest it’s creating effective and efficient communication strategies across channels, so everyone knows what they need to know. And the really brave might even suggest that employees need to feel valued, heard and celebrated for their wins.

All of these are necessary on some level for team cohesion. That being said, at Brilliant People, we believe the three most important steps to creating team success are building trust, engaging in productive conflict, and strengthening connection in your teams.

Trust: the glue that holds a team together

Patrick Lencioni, author of The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, once said:

There is probably no quality or characteristic that is as rare as trust.”

This is especially true in the workplace. And, employees and their organizations are suffering because of it.

The formal definition of trust is ‘the assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.’ But, when it comes to teams, trust is all about vulnerability. Team members who trust one another are comfortable sharing their failures, weaknesses and fears with their teammates.  We aren’t talking about touchy-feely stuff here. That’s not where we’re going with this. Connected teams have trust and are less likely to waste time slacking off or engaging in backbiting and office politics. And they have more motivation to do the work asked of them. In fact, increased trust in a team directly correlates to better job performance and increased employee engagement. The direct result being an increase in profitability.

We understand that an absence of trust is the #1 destroyer of teams. Because of this we offer The 5 Behaviors of a Cohesive Team™ to help individuals build trust with their teammates.  All other behaviors (conflict, commitment, accountability, and results) are important. However, trust is the foundation needed to create cohesive, collaborative, and productive teams (aka connected teams).

The Aftermath of Conflict

Conflicts that are ignored or mishandled fester within an organization, wreaking havoc on relationships and ultimately the company culture.

Ever see the movie Jaws? Or, any thriller/suspense movie where the music for a given scene induced feelings of intense anxiety, suspense, or fear? These same feelings are evoked when people have to deal with conflict. Conflict is most often associated with fighting, and confrontation, so more often than not, people try to steer clear of it.

Even so, the reality is that US employees spend approximately 2.8 hours each week involved in some level of conflict. That’s 140+ hours a year and almost  $359 billion in hours paid that are filled with and focused on conflict! And our clients tell us that it’s happening way more than this research shows.

Other important ramifications due to conflict in the workplace include: 

  • Low team morale
  • Negative impact on authority
  • Increased number of personal clashes
  • Low productivity and efficiency
  • Low quality work

All of which equals a disengaged workforce.

Conflict: use it or diffuse it

Conflict is really just the natural result of putting a bunch of people together who have different personalities, talents, values, and backgrounds. So, why not channel all those differences into something positive and productive? Why not allow conflict to be used as an energy source for creativity, innovation, and transformation? That would be amazing, right? But to get there we need to develop methods to diffuse negative conflict so that we can use it productively.

When trust is developed within the organization, the ability to encourage and take part in productive conflict is greatly enhanced. Everyone at the table can then genuinely explore issues in a collaborative way. This is way better than each individual having a “save yourself” mentality.

Navigating conflict is tricky but everyone can learn to engage in it. We do this by offering training that provides the tools needed to make educated, non-emotional decisions about how to handle conflict appropriately. This allows for all involved to retain their integrity, which is critical to a cohesive team.

All For One & One For All

Having connected teams is integral to a team’s success. Feeling that connection and community within the team happens when there is an emphasis on implementing people-centric strategies. In plain English, teammates have to spend time getting to know each other. They need to know their own and each other’s priorities, motivators, and stressors. Recognizing our differences and working through them is an important tenet of a thriving company culture.

Creating a successful team is work and it doesn’t happen overnight.  It takes consistency and a commitment to the effort every day. Because of this, we’ve created a continual learning model that speaks to the value and power of a connected team.  Our training program provides applicable everyday strategies to bring teams and leaders closer together. And positive productive culture is the result. You spend a lot of time at work, so use your time wisely and focus on productivity, not negativity and unproductive conflict.

The culture (r)evolution starts with you. If you’re ready to create successful teams within your organization, contact us. We can show you the way.

Up Next: Leadership At All Levels-Part 5

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