Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Building Great Teams (3 of 3) - By Darren Hardy

We've learned that great teams beat great players, leaders and competitors every time. We found that the most sabotaging influence to team cohesion and performance is ego and "headwind hogging." Now let me identify the two most important ingredients for building high-performing teams.
As Patrick Lencioni wrote in his excellent book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, the No. 1 dysfunction is an absence of trust. Interestingly, you don't even need to like each other, but you do have to trust each other to form the cohesion and solidarity needed for high performance.
So what do you do to build more trust?
I'm a believer in always giving what you want first. If you want trust from your team, give trust first. Things that foster trust are transparency, honesty, vulnerability and complete integrity.
Brainstorm five ways you can demonstrate trust to your team.
Thought starters:
Open the Kimono: Open up your books. Share the good, the bad and the ugly of your financial statements. Become far more transparent with how information is shared and communicated.

Marionette No More: Drop the puppet strings. Give others more responsibility and decision-making power without micromanagement and approvals. Train, but then trust them. Let them lead.
Expose Your Chest: As my friend Waldo Waldman teaches about leadership, "expose your chest to daggers," meaning, show your vulnerability first. Be more open and honest in the disclosure of your own fears, failures and shortcomings.
Remember, people relate and connect more with your struggles than your successes. What do you fear? When do you feel scared? When have you tried and failed? When does your confidence waver? Share that with your team and you will witness the veil of false posture lifted from your team.
Perform Pancreaticoduodenectomies: This is the surgery you need if you have pancreatic cancer—one of the most deadly of all cancers. Cancer in your team is gossip, negative talk, the "meeting after the meeting" and separate alliances or factions within the team. First, never do such things yourself. Second, stop others whenever they do them. Cancer cannot be tolerated; it has to be killed and surgically cut out before it becomes too widespread. Left too long it will destroy the whole body (team).
Be Worthy: To be trusted you first must be trustworthy. Demonstrate you are by doing what you say you will do and being where you say you will be precisely when you say you will be there. Deliver on your promises and be the example you want everyone else to follow. Simple, easy and pretty straightforward, right? Why do so many screw this one up, then? Baffles me.
Decide your five and start doing them this week.
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"Perhaps no human need is more neglected in the workplace than to feel valued," as written in The Way We Are Working Isn't Working by Tony Schwartz. Feeling significant is as basic as food. This begins at birth and never goes away. The need for significance at work is a manifestation of our inborn hunger for meaning in our lives.
Here's the trick, though: Just like I learned in marriage, people have different "love languages," and have different ways of feeling valued and appreciated. If you just do it as you would want it done, there's a great chance you will be wrong and miss the mark completely. The answer is to ASK them (same goes for your spouse).
Do This: Pick five people on your team. Sit down with each of them and explain how much you appreciate them, but are unsure how to express that fully, correctly or in the manner which matters most to them. Ask them when in the past they have felt the most appreciated and what they would like to see from you.
Decide your five and start doing that this week.
There you have it—the formula for building fantastically successful teams. Do just 20 percent of what we talked about here and you will greatly improve the performance of your team. Diligently work on all of it and you and your team will be unstoppable in your industry. Go for unstoppable!

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