Is your team as productive as you’d like it to be?
Is it as innovative as it needs to be?
Is it having the hard, but important conversations it needs?
If your answer to any of these questions is no, then it might be time to reboot your team.
How could you take your team to the next level?
Most sub-optimal team environments are unintentionally created. You might not even notice that they are sub-optimal or outright dysfunctional, until you run into stressful moments and existential challenges. Then, all of a sudden, the chickens come home to roost.
At moments like this, it’s good to remember that the team culture is not your sole responsibility. It has been co-created by all team members, present and past.
In consequence, you can’t fix or change it on your own.
The upside of that is that it’s not your sole responsibility to create a better team culture.
A team culture is a shared responsibility
On the contrary, that’s a shared capability and therefore also a shared responsibility. Any new culture has to be co-created, because culture is the sum of individual behaviours, which are or are not an expression of team values. So, the bottom line, when it comes to recreating your team culture, is this: You are not alone!
But you play a crucial role
While anyone in a team can initiate a team culture check, to be successful it is non-negotiable that the team leader is 100% behind the initiative, which includes you being part of the conversation as well as the experimenting with new ways of doing and being with one another in the process of establishing a new culture.
While your team members are your greatest resource in embarking on a culture change, you might want a skilled facilitator for the process to ensure that the conversation stays on track and that everyone adheres to a few crucial principles for productive candid conversations.
The power of listening with fresh ears
No matter what your choice is, we believe that all culture change has to start with listening to the system of the team. Listening with fresh ears to what each team member has to say allows you to understand the diverse challenges, hopes and fears, their individual perspectives on what works, what wows, and what doesn’t. Listening deeply requires that you suspend judgement and solutions (perhaps like me you’ll find the latter the hardest part!).
Listening deeply will allow you to understand the whole system at play, i.e. the team culture you and all your colleagues co-create together. And looking at the system thus uncoverd and making sense of it together will also reveal the culture which all of you together desire to create instead.
How can team coaching spark change in the team’s culture?
When we coach teams, we start with listening. We establish the perceived current state and the desired future state by listening deeply to all team members. This exploration of your team’s unique needs is the starting point and the foundation for team coaching. The topics that need to be addressed come out of this initial learning journey. It’s not a “top down” approach to setting goals and putting topics on the agenda.
Team coaching is about having an open and honest conversation with all team members in a safe space.
It is a time for appreciative dialogue.
It is a time for reflection.
Team coaching creates a space where team members can step up and grow into leaders who take responsibility for the whole team’s success. They can do that, because they develop agency and experience being seen, heard, and respected. In other words, they experience that they and their contributions matter.
Team coaching comes with beneficial side effects
In the process of team coaching, team members
- finally “get” each other, and that includes getting how to support their colleagues in being at their best and doing their best work.
- experience how to strengthen their relationships by collaboratively resolving shared challenges, be they business related or interpersonal.
- learn to appreciate the complexity of the team’s relationship system and the value of each member of the team.
- gain greater clarity of the team’s purpose and values which has them grow a stronger commitment to the collective.
- practice listening and inquiry skills.
- practice suspending their judgement and trying on someone else’s perspective.
Team coaching is not a one off learning session
Team coaching creates a container for a team to learn to solve challenges within their own organisation’s context.
That’s what makes it invaluable: it is not a one off learning session. You can literally reboot your team and take it to the next level. Team coaching is a discovery of how to co-lead together so as to co-create an environment that works. And one that supports each member at the same time as they actualise their dreams and their full potential.