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How Leaders Get Their Teams To "Click"

| July 14, 2009

by Jim Bruce

Well-integrated, high-performing teams, teams that “click,” is the subject of today’s Tuesday Reading – “How Leaders Get Their Teams To ‘Click’”  by Phil Harken.  Such teams never lose slight of their goals and are largely self-sustaining.  They often seem to take on a life of their own.  Studies by the European Centre for Organizational Research show that teams that “click” always have a “leader who creates the environment and establishes the operating principles and values that are conducive to high performance.”

What do leaders do to lead their teams so that they “click”?  Harkin lists four behaviors as most significant:

1.  They create a clear vision and describe it in simple language.

2.  They take the time to get people to subscribe to, to buy into, that vision.

3.  They assess the current situation.

4.  They get the right people involved and work through the courses of action which are likely to yield results.

It’s the up-front work in getting to a clear end state that makes the process work.  It’s all about how the leader continually keeps the objectives in view.  

Harken goes on to list ten techniques for building high-performance teams:

1.  Define a very clear picture of the future – a vision for the team.  “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”  If the team is not all on the same road, you won’t reach your goals.

2.  Be genuine.

3.  Ask good questions.  The 70-20-10 rule for conversations is often appropriate.  (70% listening, 20% questions, 10% summarizing, synthesizing, providing possible courses of action.)

4.  Talk about everything;  especially the hard things.  Problems do no go away by ignoring them.

5.  Follow through on commitments.

6.  Let others speak first.  In high performing teams, everyone is equal in terms of communication.

7.  Listen.  Everyone on the team listens with respect, and values and engages ideas from all the team members.

8.  Addresses any team member that is not performing.

9.  Have fun, but never at anyone else’s expense.

10.  Are confident and dependable.  They prepare their conversations and don’t avoid or skim over real issues and problems, especially the difficult and confronting ones.  They address btht the “What’s so” and the “So whats.”

So, today, think about your team and what you want to do today to improve it’s performance.  


.  .  .  .  .   jim