In the corporate world, no one gets anything done without help. That’s why teams and teamwork are so important. Consider this. Even if your employees work alone most of the time, whatever they do is but a step in the overall process toward your overall company goals.
When the team doesn’t function well, work is impeded. This is true even when the team appears to be functioning well, because some members are—for example—picking up the slack of other members or working around difficult members.
And even if that’s true, it’s only a matter of time before the more highly-functioning members of the team get sick and tired of doing more than their fair share. Low morale, increased conflict, and increased turnover are sure to follow.
On the other hand, the team could appear to be doing well because it is doing well, but are you sure they couldn’t be doing better?
So how about a team checkup for 2015? Use behavioral assessments to reveal team strengths, areas for development, compatibilities, and differences and—most important—tips for managing all of that.
A team check up isn’t some sneaky way for you to find out who might need a pink slip. A team check up is a developmental tool to be used to help your team perform better, period. The more your team members understand and appreciate each other’s work styles, the better off the team will be.
1) Let the team know what’s going on. No need for any surprises here. Inform the team of the purpose of the check up as well as all the details concerning when the tests will be administered, who’ll be administering them, and how the results will be analyzed and used, etc.
2) Get qualified help. Don’t tackle this alone. Get help from a qualified independent consultant or engage the test developers/administrators in the process.
3) Follow protocol. For best results, use the tests as intended, and follow instructions.
4) Participate wholeheartedly. If your own enthusiastic participation is lacking, you can’t expect more from your team members. And remember, you’re a part of the team, too—in fact, you’re a key member! It wouldn’t hurt you or your employees if you gained better self-insight.
5) Act on what you’ve learned. So often, the problem with this type of team activity is nothing happens afterward. Don’t make that mistake! Use the information you discover to be a better manager.
6) Respect what you learn. People are different, and generally speaking those differences should be respected. So long as the job is still getting done, give your employees space to fulfill their obligations in their own way.
7) Follow up. Team building (which is the purpose of the check up) is not a “one and done.” Instead, it’s an ongoing process and a regular part of your team’s development. Use this initiative to build on a culture of self-learning, which is good for employees and good for business.
Behavioral assessments can be informative and fun, and most employees are open to learning things about themselves and their coworkers. When the results are shared in an appropriate and respectful way, they also enhance team functioning and build empathy (“Ah, so that’s why Bill doesn’t speak up much at meetings!”).
Make 2015 your most productive year ever by giving your team a check up that’ll improve team functioning all year long.