T-Space for Teamwork

We all appreciate from our common sense that a team will work best together if all members hold good, strong relationships with each other – it feels to us like a general rule we can apply. But of course those good relations are not always easy to come by, or indeed manufacture. Past experience and personalities can get in the way, creating friction and sources of teamworking difficulty. Processes are held up, or delivery timeframes lengthened by any frayed connections that exist within the team. Therefore, teams need a plan of action, so they can move more towards behaving like the cohesive team they can be.

That’s where Patrick Lencioni’s Five Behaviours of a Cohesive Team comes in. His model provides us with 5 behaviours which a team, well actually its individual members, can become aware of and practice, enabling their team to collectively oil its wheels and operate most productively. It’s all about what you do, how you behave, as a good team member – personalities and negative experiences from the past need not be excuses.

So what are these 5 Behaviours of a Cohesive Team?

Building Trust – This is about admitting mistakes and weaknesses, accepting questions, offering apologies and giving the benefit of the doubt. These behaviours help to generate ‘vulnerability-based trust’ between team members, a huge source of powerful connectivity.

Mastering Conflict – Once trust is built, the conflict that inevitability occurs wherever there is a difference of perspective or opinion is must more easily managed. Here the focus is on debating important issues, focusing on ideas to collaborate, expressing feelings, listening to others and encouraging a calm demeanour.

Achieving Commitment – If differences are openly discussed and worked through, commitment will more easily build to the agreed way forward. For this to happen, team members need to be voicing objections, clarifying their agreements with each other and taking responsibility to row in behind a collective group decision, even if they didn’t agree or it wasn’t their original preference.

Embracing Accountability – When commitment is present, accountability can more easily be taken. Here, team members need to be clarifying roles & responsibilities, creating up front agreements on the shared goal and what each will deliver, holding each other to account on delivery and giving each other supportive (specific, positive and behaviour-orientated) feedback to encourage their collective journeys.

Focusing on Collective Results – With collective accountability, the shared goal will become very clear and meaningful. Here, cohesive team members will be avoiding distractions, prioritising the team goal over individual preferences, allocating time to work together, leading by example, setting clear KPIs and celebrating collective successes.

So how is your team doing?

At T-Space, we can use the 5Bs assessment to help your team understand its cohesiveness index. Then through 3 x 1 day team workshops, we can review outcomes, learn about and practice the cohesive behaviours, consider possible ways forward and fully support team members to devise a collective plan of action on each of the 5 core behaviours. Very soon, your cohesive team will be feeling good and powering away towards great collective successes.

Contact us to find out more.

New Year, New Respect

As the New Year emerges, and we re-join our work teams to apply our renewed vigour to drive organisational productivity, one key element will undoubtedly support us to operate as the most efficient collective – we should reconsider the meaning of ‘respect’.

In my work with all manner of teams and groups in the workplace, this word keeps coming up. Mostly it is complained about as ‘a lack of’ and used in the third person, e.g. they don’t respect me/him, they need to show a little more respect, he is so disrespectful, etc. We’ve all heard it, and there’s generally no mistaking that more demonstration and presence of this ‘respect’ in our work relations would lead to more satisfying role interactions and more real ticks in our action boxes.

But what does respect really mean? Well, it is a noun and a verb, with derivatives often as adjectives. When you do it, as a verb (to respect), you give the noun (respect) and generate the feeling of the adjective (in a respectful way). The word respect is derived from the Latin re (again), and spectare (to look at), so meaning ‘look again’. Essentially, the action of respecting is to look again at people, i.e. really see them, notice how they are talking, take in their language, appreciate the way they are likely to be feeling, hear what they are telling you, and see them for who they really are. To do this, though, we need to put the ever-present and often over-riding mental picture that we have had of our work colleague (often it’s been there for a while, and it’s not always a good perspective!) to one side, so that we can properly see past it, and look again at their reality.

This required concerted effort, but having seen and heard them afresh, what are they trying to tell us, how are they really feeling, what ideas do they have to move things on, how do they feel, etc, they can add more value, both to themselves and to the organisation. We can only know these things though by firstly ‘looking again’, and then questioning to find more to look again at and consider together. This type of respectful and productive interaction will help both you and your work colleagues find more answers and feel more efficient together. Giving the time to really respect, i.e. look again and understand anew, is so very much worth it in terms of work relations.

In Latin, spectare also means ‘to watch’, which in English links to seeing the full view again, but also of being careful. So in addition, respect means ‘be careful again’ – i.e. take care of your work colleagues & relationships, so that interactions can be as helpful as possible within your work. Caring in work terms can be as basic as responding to e-mails, returning phone calls, or following up on items you promised to activate, or if you can’t, then contacting your work colleague to let them know why, and what your revised plan is – using positive, encouraging language and being supportive with them to find new ways forward together.

Respect is a bit like trust, it must be given before it can be expected to come to you. So this New Year, do re-open your eyes, look again and be careful again with your work colleague interactions. Give time to respond & talk and really see your workplace partners for who they really are. Keep it up, and before you know it, you’ll be more productive together and also more respected yourself - simply because you’re willing to give it.

Karen Gray, Director, T-Space


T-Space Promote-s Positive Behaviour Change

T-Space Promote-s Positive Behaviour Change

Recently T-Space has teamed up with Promote International to become an international licensee of their ground-breaking online learning transfer platform. As a result, T-Space now offers a versatile and practical online solution to most fully support learning transfer from T-Space workshops into the workplace. Applications of Promote with our valued customers are already showing strong benefits in transfer of learning on subjects such as Collaboration, Relational Leadership and Connectedness.

The Task of Relations

Within the hectic pace and unswerving results focus of our working lives in organisations today, it can sometimes seem like we’ll have achieved if we can just survive, get to the end of the day/week and recharge ready for another swirl in the mixer. We are so used to relying on ourselves to make it happen, get it done, have it ready, that it’s easy to deprioritise the others around us. We feel too time-poor to feed our connections on a human level, and we may therefore miss out on the support that can bring us.

Results and Relationships - A Powerful Partnership

This week, on LinkedIN, I’ve been listening to and engaging in very interesting HR & Talent Management group discussion on the question of whether results or relationships is more important to attend to in a corporate management context. The consensus seems to be that both are important, and that indeed you can’t get one without the other, indicating a form of mutual dependence. But which more often comes first? My own view is that the relationship is the more reliable pre-determinant, and if this is good enough will produce good enough results, leading to a mutual reinforcement and the production of excellence in both areas.