Here's a Method That Will Move Your Team Towards Collaboration

I’m a school guy so my “year” began this past Monday, Sept. 1, the first day of school.  While we worked all summer to get things ready, only when kids arrive do we feel as if the year begins.

Your “year” may be the same or may begin in January or some other time.  Whatever the case, beginnings are the right time to sit with your team and look forward.

The only catch is that many leaders don't take the time to do this.  After all, it takes guts to delve into the "soft skills" that truly great leaders demonstrate.  We're talking about emotions, group sentiment and motivation.

An easy technique that I use is as simple as the following:

1. Let’s review the reasons why we meet.  I.e. to make decisions, to approve things, to seek advice, to share our wins, to track sales, etc.

2. Let’s articulate responses to “I appreciate when…”  This is the most important step because it invites participants to state what they like in the behaviors of their teammates.  You may hear things like...

I appreciate when you guys show up on time

I appreciate when we make real decisions

I appreciate when we don’t go over an hour

I appreciate when my opinion is heard by everyone

3. Let’s affirm what we are about.  At this point, we list the individual values that we are passionate about.  One typically hears things like “honesty”, “follow up”, “results oriented”, “speak up”, etc.

The hardest part of all of this is having the guts to try it.  Once the team gets rolling, the anwers flow and the rest is history.  

What strategies do you use as you prepare your team for a new year?