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Team Members, Your Most Valuable Resource

A well working team is much greater than the sum of its parts.

When working with your project team do you want to:

  • ·        Hone your skill as a facilitator

  • ·        Extract the best ideas

  • ·        Invite creativity

  • ·        Protect against members shutting down members

If you said yes to the above then it is important to create a positive context and establish a high level of cooperation. Every interaction with team members is an opportunity to increase creativity, improve morale and make projects run smoother.

How do you make the most of these opportunities?

Here are three tips

  1. Appreciate differences

  2. Validate everyone’s contributions

  3. Celebrate

Appreciate differences.

Team members have work style differences. Some focus mostly on tasks and others focus on interactions with people. Some are methodical and some are quick to act. In spite of these differences some team members work together well and have high levels of productivity. Their differences can cause conflicts yet they are used as fuel for innovation. When appreciating individual differences team members thrive on conflicts.

Focusing on differences between team members as if there is something wrong with the other person has a negative effect on team dynamics and productivity. 

Encourage team members to take a positive view and find value in how other people see and do things? The most creative and successful project teams are the ones use their differences to compliment and support each other.

Appreciating team members increases their value.

Validate everyone’s contributions.

You grow what you notice and validate. By recognizing someone’s efforts, pointing out how they are helping the team and the project, you increase those behaviors. Especially if something they are working on is challenging. Find what they are doing that is valuable and point it out. This helps to maintain self esteem and keep morale high.

When people receive validation and acknowledgement at work their report of job satisfaction increases.

Celebrate. Do not wait till the end of the project and only celebrate then. When I work with teams and I ask them what they celebrate. One team said the only thing they could remember celebrating was when someone left. What a waste! I know lots of good things happened on their projects. By not celebrating they robbed themselves of valuable fuel.

Celebration lifts spirits and reinforces success. It sparks enthusiasm. Find little things to celebrate everyday. Do not pass up any opportunities to acknowledge what is going right, help team members to bond and raise morale.  Some ways to celebrate are getting bonuses, awards, or mention in a meeting. Some times team members share trips, meals, or chocolate. Some time there is applause, congratulations or a high five. Celebration can be done for little or no cost. Of course sometimes you will want to splurge.

 "The strength of the team is each individual member... the strength of each member is the team." Coach Phil Jackson

How do you create a successful team? It’s simple:

  • Appreciate the uniqueness of each team member.

  • Validate everyone’s’ contributions.

  • And Celebrate Celebrate Celebrate!!!

Ramone Yaciuk is a Senior Facilitator for Tough Teams.  He helps project leaders and teams increase productivity and project success in the courses Creating High Performance Project Teams and Thriving on Conflict.

 Copyright © 2007, Ramone Yaciuk