Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How well do your team members know each other ?

Sometime back i wrote on the topic- How well do you know your team..." which had a prime focus on team work and why knowing the team is a prime tasks for any leader. In today's world, no matter how virtual we may become in conducting our work , the team bonding remains one of the foremost task for a leader. It’s not only important for a leader to know his or her team but it is also of great significance for the team members to know each other. This is especially true of a team in which people have been working together for a while, may be 2-3 years and beyond.

One can always argue that more the team members work with each other-the more time they spend together, the more they "know" each other. While this may be true to an extent, it is equally true that more time people spend working with each other, the more they start taking each other's strengths for granted. And they start considering their egos bigger than relationship and think more of shortcomings rather than positives. I don’t write this to say that this is necessarily right or wrong but this aspect is very human for sure.

It does become challenging to appreciate each other's strengths after a while so there is a constant need to remind each other of the value that each one brings in to the organization and to the team. How can one remind other team member of their Strengths ? He or She can openly appreciate the other person but in true sense this may sound as more artificial than anything else. There can be many ways to address this but i have found one exercise when done with the team quite useful to address this aspect.
Here are the details-

• blank sheets of paper (same as no. of team members)
• pens (same as no. of teamm members)
• Around 20-30 min in a team meeting
• Paricipants with Open unbiased mind

1. Participants sitting in a sort of round table setting.
2. Each participant gets one piece of paper and write their name on it.
3. As a next step, each participant passes on the paper (with their name) to the person sitting on right of him/her.
4. Each person now has a paper with someone else’s name on it.
5. As a next step, Each participant thinks for a while (1 minute or less) and writes something positive about the person who name appears on the sheet. The participant need not write his/her name with the comment. “Something positive” can be even some good instance, good experience that he/she would have shared with that person, or some personality trait he/she likes about him/her or even some professional achievement, skill about that person. Preferably write it in sentence form rather than a single word. The bottom line is that it should be something positive. If you need more to write, take it but try and be as honest as possible in the praise.
6. After the participant has completed writing, go to Step# 3 till 5 repeatedly till you get the paper with your name back.
7. After you receive the sheet with your name, each person tells any one interesting Positive thing someone has written about him/her.

• Helps people thinking something positive (beyond their egos) about the team members and reinforcing that belief.
• Help people reinforce the fact that irrespective of the personality differences, there is something positive to cherish about.
• The final sheet is something people can keep with them and refer to it anytime later. This can be referred especially when chips are down and looking at the positives helps one regain the confidence.
• Share some light moments within the team especially when everyone is communicating the Interesting Positive fact in a team setting.

Do you know of any other interesting ways ?


Santhosh Tuppad said...

I kept motivating my colleagues in my ex-organization by appreciating their work. I experienced that most of them did not appreciate when someone did something good. The one who did good would be waiting for some kind of motivation in any form which could be, just a message saying, well done or anything that can keep up their motivation and would drive them to do more good in their work.

Good blog post Anuj. Most of the people need to read this post. Even this blog post is one of the way to help people forget their egos and appreciate and encourage their team members.

Having said that, I would also say Self-Motivation is very important for any individual.


Anuj Magazine said...

Thanks Santosh. I feel the dynamics of motivation are sometimes complex. Sometimes people tend to feel Appreciation as unreal if required trust is not there in the team environment or if words lack sincerity or if its over done or if they let their ego dominate themselves. It does take a rare courage and simple thinking to spot a positive in a team member.
Yes, Self motivation is important but human beings often require that tender pat on the back from those around to feel assured and to for their Self-esteem needs.


Ajay Balamurugadas said...

Thanks Anuj for this post.
Practical & simple.

Some of the other ways I use to motivate team members:
a. Appreciate them as soon as they show improvement.
b. Help them as and when you see that they might need some help.

The most important factor I believe is 'Appreciate in public'. this works wonders :)

Anuj Magazine said...

Thanks for reading through, Ajay. Recognition in public is good as long as it is conveyed appropriately without unintentionally belittling other's accomplishments. This risk is always there in Public sort of recognitions. The recognitions are best done and conveyed specifically, sincerely, personally, positively and proactively.