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Entries from November 2016

Are you a team player?

24th November 2016

team players

Being part of a team is not just about you performing at your best. It’s about working with others and being a team player, understanding the teams objectives, aligning to those and taking responsibility for your individual as well as team performance.

How good a team player are you?

I’ve put together this checklist so that you can do a quick self-assessment. Decide what action you can take to be an even better team member.


Are you willing and able to:

Manage yourself well: Are you aware of your strengths and weaknesses? Do you utilise these and share them with your team members? Are you able to control your emotions?

Build your competence: Do you continually review your skills levels and identify what you need to build on to further your career and support the team?

Commit to the team and organisations vision: Are you clear about the organisations vision and how your role and the team contribute to delivering that? Does everything you do and your objectives fully align to this vision? Can you easily say no to things that are not in alignment with the vision?

Take responsibility for delivering to the team: Do you focus on the team’s efforts and goals as much as your individual goals? Do you willingly sacrifice resource for the team, knowing that this may delay your own achievement? If things are going awry do you let people know and take personal responsibility for it?

Give and receive feedback: Do you regularly provide feedback to your team colleagues when things go well and when things don’t? Are you specific with the feedback you give e.g. the way you managed that particular conversation was very effective; you listened and responded appropriately, you gave them space to say everything they needed to say and I thought your summary of the situation was succinct and accurate rather than – you handled that really well.

Do you willingly receive feedback – the good the bad and the ugly?

Be self confident and courageous: Are you confident in who you are and what you do? Are you prepared to say you disagree even when everyone else is in agreement? Are you prepared to try something new and learn from it? Do you admit when you have got things wrong or make a mistake?

Rate yourself out of 10 for each of these. Where you have identified areas for improvement, what can you start to do tomorrow to make progress?

If you are not sure ask your manager or your team members for feedback and start a dialogue about how you can all improve.

I’d love to know how you get on so feel free to leave a comment.

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”

Michael Jordan

Is teamwork really possible in today’s challenging and turbulent times?

3rd November 2016


Teamwork is the single most untapped competitive advantage any organisation has.

But is teamwork really possible in today’s challenging and turbulent times?


The better question to ask is what is the cost of not encouraging and enabling teamwork and greater team performance?

As a leader no one teaches you how to build a team and yet once you are appointed to a leadership role you are supposed to know what to do … crazy right?

It is the one area organisations invest in the least and yet it can provide the greatest gain for organisational performance. So what get’s in the way?

Three common mistakes

Here are the most common mistakes I see leaders make when it comes to team performance and development:

  1. You don’t know where to go for help. You’re a leader therefore you’re supposed to know what to do. Yet, you really don’t know where to start. If you say you need help that would show weakness and you couldn’t possibly do that.
  2. You’ve been a leader for a while and you know the business and your team, so you can ‘figure it out’. You’ve worked in teams before and it’s not rocket science…
  3. You just need to work harder, so you and your team simply need to do more of what you do naturally.

Achieving high performance in any team requires engagement, commitment and time. Often the task gets the focus as it’s easier to ‘do’. The truth is it can become easier if you harness the strengths and energies of the individual members of your team.

I’m a great believer in focussing on people’s strengths and the strengths of the collective team. However, I also believe in addressing what may be getting in the way of those strengths coming to the fore and that is fear.

Fear in it’s many forms

Fear as a leader is not something I hear people admit to in the workplace and yet it is present in many of us. Not all of the time but in those moments of doubt and worry it’s lurking in the background. Sometimes we are not conscious of it and once we become more aware of it’s presence it becomes easier to handle.

Fear is an emotion caused by impending danger, alarm or dread and can cause us to back away from things, hesitate and become anxious. It can show up in a number of ways organisationally. Here are just a few things that could be clues to fear driven behaviour:

Blame, particularly when something goes wrong. Pointing the finger at another team or department – ‘If they’d done what they were supposed to do this wouldn’t have happened!’

Confusion. This is usually an indication of a lack of clarity and people aren’t prepared to say they don’t understand or they don’t know. The lack of clarity could be about the situation you are in, the problem you are facing or the direction you are heading.

Control. This can show up as wanting to sign everything off, hoarding information, not delegating or wanting things done your way and can lead to silo mentality

Caution. When people are cautious slow decision making ensues while more information is gathered to ensure it’s ‘safe’ and the right decision is made. It may also result in wanting to ensure everyone is on board before moving forward, or wanting to have everything carefully planned out with contingencies on place.

Internal competition. All of the above can be a symptom of this. Whilst internal competition can be healthy when it starts to get in the way of cooperation, sharing and learning it is unhealthy and likely to breed distrust.

All of this boils down to an absence of trust!

“Trust always affects two outcomes – speed and cost. When trust goes down, speed will go down and cost will go up. When trust goes up, speed will also go up and cost will go down. It’s that simple, that real, and that predictable.”

Stephen Covey book “Speed of Trust”.

The cost of doing nothing

I often hear leaders say the team is committed but we don’t have the time. There is a cost to not taking time out to enhance your performance. It boils down to lost opportunities and lost productivity. Here are just a few examples of how this shows up:

  • Talking about the wrong issues over and over again because you lack buy-in
  • Slow decision-making
  • Wasting time and energy on politics and confusion
  • Silo mentality

You can put a monetary figure to this and I have a very simple way of helping you define this. Simply drop me an email for more information.

Enhancing your team’s performance is not as onerous as it first appears. It’s about building relationships and having meaningful dialogue about what needs to shift.

Many leaders are waking up to the fact that the most important factor for the success of their team or organisation is the right culture. The way you behave together can make or break a team or organisation.

What do you need to address to raise the level of your teams performance?

“When a team outgrows individual performance and learns team confidence, excellence becomes a reality.”

Joe Paterno


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