Our belief is that everyone in your organization wants to do a good job. But to enjoy great teamwork in the office, the factory or in the field, two things must happen before your teams begin their projects:
Take for instance a project team who has been given a task to accomplish within a 90 day time period. Your team has a budget set, milestones marked and a clear outcome to be accomplished together. Now it’s the team leaders task to clearly outline each team members responsibilities to contribute towards the project outcome. It can be done within the sub-team’s individual milestones, then as that smaller team, agree to what each person will contribute towards your project’s milestones. So even though each individual has clarified their own job, it’s the general project leader who confirms that nothing is missing in the plan and confirms the linkage from the individuals job, to the sub-team’s milestones all the way to the general project milestones to the final project outcome. Now everyone has a direction and a clear path to accomplish this goal.
In the same sense, by having clarity of job at hand, you are already on the right path to managing overwhelm. But as life happens, team’s hit what I call “bumps in the road”, delays, unexpected challenges that could contribute to overwhelm. This is why it’s so important as an effective leader to be proactive and anticipate these challenges before they happen. By being proactive and by being in the listening to your team, you’ll be able to effectively manage any overwhelm threatening the clear path you had made.
Using the project team example, you may have a team member unexpectedly leave the team due to transfers, promotion or relocation. Normally this would hurt the project going forward. But because you were proactive and had in place a true team collaboration mindset in place that you even practiced during you’re kick-off team building experience. You were ready and the project’s timing was not interrupted.
Because you planned for a team member to leave mid-project and you created a simulation for that possibility to happen within your team building program. Everyone proceeded as they had done with their team project simulation, thus avoiding overwhelm.
So to really embrace teamwork, use these two opportunities to your advantage and let you and your team flourish from their results!
Jim Connolly is Founder of CEO Chef and author of three team building and leadership development books.