‘Be the Change’ you want to see in your Team
Having your own ‘personal behaviour code’ is one way you can start to make teamworking better, by being the change you want to see in your team, and taking a stand for what you believe really matters. By being consistent, others know where they stand, and trust can develop more easily between team members, and more honest conversations can be had. All of this leads to improved relationships and team performance. It doesn’t mean tolerating bad behaviour, but it does mean doing your bit to make the team work. I’ve adapted these from the Virginia Mason Institute’s behaviour code.
- Listen to understand.
Good listening means giving the speaker your full attention. Nonverbal cues like eye contact and nodding let others know you are paying attention and are fully present for the conversation. Avoid interrupting or cutting others off when they are speaking. Use mindfulness skills to help you be present in the moment of listening to others. Seek to have ‘learning conversations’ with others, remembering you only ever have half of the information you need.
- Keep your promises.
When you keep your word you show you are honest and you let others know you value them. Follow through on commitments and if you run into problems, let others know. Be reliable and expect reliability from others.
- Be encouraging.
Giving encouragement shows you care about others and their success. It is essential that everyone in the team understand their contributions have value. Encourage your coworkers to share their ideas, opinions and perspectives.
- Connect with others.
Notice those around you and smile. This acknowledgement, combined with a few sincere words of greeting, creates a powerful connection. Practice courtesy and kindness in all interactions.
- Express gratitude.
A heartfelt “thank you” can often make a person’s day and shows you notice and appreciate their work. Give your colleagues a handwritten note or verbal praise, or share a story of “going above and beyond” at your next team meeting.
- Share information.
When people know what is going on, they feel valued and included. Be sure everyone has the information they need to do their work and know about things that affect their work environment. Sharing information and communicating openly signals you trust and respect others.
- Speak up.
It is our responsibility to ensure a safe environment for everyone at work, not just physical safety but also mental and emotional safety. Create an environment where everyone feels comfortable to speak up if they see something unsafe or feel unsafe.
- Walk in their shoes.
Empathize with others and understand their point of view and their contributions. Be considerate of their time, job responsibilities and workload. Ask before you assume your priorities are their priorities.
- Grow and develop.
Value your own potential by committing to continuous learning. Take advantage of opportunities to gain knowledge and learn new skills. Share your knowledge and expertise with others. Ask for and be open to feedback to grow both personally and professionally.
- Be a team player.
Great teams are great because team members support each other. Create a work environment where help is happily offered, asked for and received. Trust that teammates have good intentions. Anticipate other team members’ needs and clearly communicate priorities and expectations to be sure the workload is level-loaded.
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