Strengthening Your Team

People have joined your team! Most excellent! Now the challenge ahead is working like a great team. It won’t happen automatically. It takes effort and skill to keep a team working smoothly and synergistically, so let’s explore some of the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Steven Covey for insight on how to make a group of great people into a great team. Below is a short summary. It’s much better to read the entire book, but maybe this will get you started.

Think Win/Win

Obviously everybody on the team hopes that participation on the team will be a win for them. Make sure that happens. Take time to understand the hopes, aspirations and worries of each other, so that it is clear what is a win for everyone.

Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood

More than likely your team is a widely dispersed virtual team. That’s no problem with the technology available now, with video conference call capability in everyone’s pocket. Fully leverage video call tech, because even in technical discussions, a lot of communication is non-verbal.

Other team members will have awesome ideas on how to improve the project. Too often great ideas are dismissed too early because they’re not fully understood. Taking time to fully understand what your teammates are saying can be extremely beneficial.

Some ideas may not be the best, but it’s still worth the time to fully explore them, looking for any gold nuggets, or maybe the discussion will be a springboard into a truly wonderful enhancement to the project. At the very least, giving the team member the respect of listening will insure full participation continues as the project progresses. Be able to communicate your team member’s ideas as well or better than them. Make sure they know they’ve been heard and understood.

Then make sure you’re understood. Learn to make clear and concise presentations. Learn what the possible objections or misunderstandings might be in advance and address them directly. If an objection is raised, address it clearly in a way that the other knows they’ve been heard and well listened to.

Synergize

When everyone is looking for Win/Win and seeking first to understand, synergy is often spawned. Your team will start developing ideas, strategies and implementations that are WAY better than any one of you could think of. When your team is on this track, observe how it came about and foster the conditions of synergy as often as you can.

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