FAQs on Teams and Leadership – Part 5

I have been researching and applying responsible leadership, teamwork, and change for 26 years all over the world, and I often get asked the same questions.

This is the fifth post of a 5-part series in which I address the most basic, and the more involved, questions I’m frequently asked about teams, teamwork, and leadership.

In my first, second, third, and fourth post, I already answered these questions:

  1. What is a team?
  2. What are the basic principles of teamwork?
  3. Are there different types of teams?
  4. How is a team different than a group?
  5. Who can be on a team?
  6. How does a team form?
  7. Why is trust important to teams?
  8. Can one person make a difference on a team?
  9. What is leadership?
  10. Who can exhibit leadership?
  11. Should teams have an assigned leader?
  12. Shouldn’t the technical expert be designated as the team leader?
  13. What is the difference between “leadership” and “leader?”
  14. How is a leader different than a manager?
  15. How do I start a team correctly?
  16. How do I get someone to do what he or she agreed to?

Here are my answers to the last four questions:

  1. How do I get someone to trust me?
  2. How do I get meetings to start on time?
  3. How do I work with someone who doesn’t believe in teams?
  4. How do I motivate someone who doesn’t report to me?

17. How do I get someone to trust me?

Ask for someone’s trust by your actions. Make a small agreement and keep it. Then make incrementally larger agreements and keep them. Trust is built on making and keeping small agreements. Never make any agreement, no matter how small, that you don’t fully intend to keep. Make a determined effort to keep each agreement, especially when doing so is hard — the other party will notice your ownership and reward it with increased confidence, i.e., trust, in you.

18. How do I get meetings to start on time?

Lack of schedule integrity is a huge annoyance and a contributor to low trust and resentment. First, stop contributing to the problem yourself. See above section on Trust. Then try these tactics:

  • Set meetings at a time people can agree to make. Due to travel time between meetings, ten minutes past the hour may be more realistic than on the hour.
  • Agree to the time the meeting REALLY starts, then start it at that time. Do this consistently for a few meetings and people will get the message.
  • End your meeting on time to show schedule integrity. If you need to meet longer, ask who can attend another meeting, which will commence immediately.

19. How do I work with someone who doesn’t believe in teams?

First, if someone truly demands a solo act, coach them to find a job or role where duties fit that model. Then, if you still want to take them on, try the following:

  • Agree to make the person a consultant to your team rather than a member. Do this to acknowledge their need for independence.
  • Next, ask him or her to consult to the overall project (not just on their assignment), to consult with all necessary team members, and to respond to a set checkpoint that corresponds in frequency with your team meetings.
  • Then, proceed according to team orientation and management principles.

20. How do I motivate someone who doesn’t report to me?

Often, when people are unmotivated or even resistant, they just want others to take responsibility for their emotional state. Whatever you do, don’t get sucked into this. Instead of thinking that you must motivate such a person, tap into his or her existing well of potential motivation. You do this by asking, “What could be in it for you to work on this project with this team?” Don’t tell, ask! Probe until the person finds something. Then make an agreement to help him or her get that by working with you on the team.

If you can’t help the person find something that raises his or her energy and commitment, then save yourself and get out of that situation. Otherwise, your own commitment and performance will slide down to match the other person’s level of effort. If you think it through, this explains why there are so few high performing teams.

I hope you enjoyed this 5-part series and will share it with team members, co-workers, or even your family.

Christopher Avery, PhD, is a recognized authority on how individual and shared responsibility works in the mind and an advisor to leaders worldwide. For more on topics discussed in this post, consider his executive report Responsible Change, and download the Responsibility Process™ poster PDF in a more than a dozen languages. CEO’s desiring a culture of ownership may want to investigate the proven Managed Leadership Gift Adoption program.

Posted in Ask Christopher Avery, Leadership on 06/25/2012 01:50 am
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