A Walk Along The Road

Thinking about teams ....

Trust in teams
Today's walk was the first where a coat was necessary for a long time ... with a storm at my back I headed back along my familiar road and was reflecting on the common theme that featured with a number of those I had been coaching this week.

Team performance and how to 'get' teams to function effectively was the key challenge facing people this week .... I don't know why but a return to 'office working' or implementing hybrid models of working is my suspicion.

When thinking about and discussion team working I frequently go back to my preferred definition of a team by Katzenbach and Smith (1993)

A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, set of performance goals, and approach for which they

hold themselves mutually accountable

While one of many definitions of teams, this is my preferred - mainly because it reminds me of how seldom I have actually being part of or led a team or teams that fully meet this definition.

Usually the common purpose has been missing and or the ability for team members to hold one another mutually accountable for delivering as a team has been lacking.

While the Blake and Mouton Grid is a long established model - the power of the message it delivers remans. The grid represents four potential team types ... influenced by the level of focus the team has on the members of the team and the task the team is delivering.

Where the team leadership is fully focused on the deliverables with little or no concern for team members - the team is viewed as authoritarian.

Conversely, where there is high focus and value place on the team members but little or no focus on outputs from the team - such a team can be described as a 'country club'.

The ideal possible is where the balance of focus is both on the team members and the task the team is charged with delivering ... of course depending on the required outputs, timeframes, urgency and function of the team ... any of the four types may be appropriate.
What the grid does provide is a useful opportunity for leaders and team members to review a team they are in and potentially diagnose why the team is not working in the way they had expected.

Motivation to perform at our best and the ability to hold one another in a team to account are not always easy to achieve consistently .... and reminds me that many of us don't invest enough time in developing and reviewing the teams we are members of.

If you are in a team - consider how the team functions in terms of one of the four team styles described by Blake and Mouton and importantly try and identify why ?

Happy team work !

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