Teams Gain Steam
Working toward a ‘we,’ not ‘me’ culture
Early in my career, I had a boss—well, actually, the three-steps-up boss—who would stand at the employee entrance every morning, tapping her watch disappointedly as we scurried in the door a couple minutes past 8 a.m.
That behavior gives you an indication of what the company’s culture was like: strict, authoritarian, inflexible. And when employees are exposed to such behavior, it becomes the model for everyone’s behavior. Thus, the managers at every level espoused the same approach, and misery was doled out equally. All the free cookies in the world didn’t prevent the prevailing workplace toxicity.
Thankfully, as years have passed, organizations have increasingly moved away from that management style, understanding that it’s counterproductive to rule with an iron fist, and instead recognizing that collaborative, empowered, diverse teams work best to accomplish the work that must get done.
“Sky High” touts the benefits of self-organizing teams, and provides some tips for creating these workforce powerhouses. Heads-up for leaders: You’ll likely have to modify the style you’re used to because you’ll take on a different role in motivating the teams and setting vision and direction, then step out of the way to let your teams perform.
Here at ASQ, we have made some great strides in using self-organizing teams on projects. They’ve been most successful when stakeholders have been closely aligned with the teams’ work. How do you leverage teams in your organization? What works, and what doesn’t? Email me at email@example.com.
At the heart of high-functioning teams are the soft skills we talk about frequently in QP. Emotional intelligence can be broken down into five aspects, as cited in “Essential and Effective,” this month’s Innovation Imperative column. The first is self-awareness. Intuitively, if you understand yourself, you understand how others view you. It’s not an easy feat. To quote Benjamin Franklin: “There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond and to know one’s self.”
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