Team Spirit – A Team Member Guide …

It’s not just the Team Leader’s Job!

If you’ve read our previous blog, you’ll know that every person in a team has a role to play in creating a virtuous cycle of improvement in a team. What’s more, it makes being part of that team far more enjoyable! Here’s some specific things that you can do:

1) Choose to become a team member

Becoming a member of a team is ultimately a personal choice. No one can make you a team member, each of us has to choose. We can resist being a part. We each have to choose to willingly give of ourselves. And typically, we make this choice again and again.

2) Accept other team members so that they can become more

Acceptance contributes to team building. Without acceptance there is judgment and holding back. Trying to change another person invites stress and conflict. No one likes others trying to change them. Trying to change others, especially through judgments, backfires long term. We only give a person the power to influence us when we feel accepted and valued. Begin with acceptance. People who feel validated, heard, and understood are then usually more open to being influenced by you.

3) Trust first and offer goodwill

Choosing to trust and offering goodwill facilitates the process of becoming a team. It supports the bonding that creates team spirit. The more open we are, the better. Being open and transparent prevents many problems and conflicts. It keeps things up-front so people can be forthright. It also cuts out mind reading and accusations.

4) Create an open atmosphere for communicating

Be forthright and empathetic in your communications. Create a forum where issues can be put on the table and worked through to resolution without getting personal. Create a democratic atmosphere where everybody is welcomed to participate and has a clear understanding of the team, the organization, and their role within it. Tap into the different thinking styles of others.

5) Show confidence in leaders

When people trust and have confidence in leaders, they co-create a more comfortable and safe environment which eliminates fear. If needed, refer back to point 4)!

6) Help the team to be more cohesive about its purpose

Help confirm the vision and purpose. Teams cannot function well without a strong sense of direction. Contribute freely to processes such as brainstorming, decision making, consensus building and conflict resolution to help to create a shared direction.

7) Equip yourself to handle conflict

Conflict within teams is not only inevitable, it is healthy. It is essential to produce sharp thinking, intelligent decisions, well-rounded perspectives, and avoid group-think. This means the ability to communicate effectively, handle strong emotions (both positive and negative), discuss ideas openly, enter into true dialogue, welcome tension and negotiate amongst others.

8) Equip yourself better relational and bonding skills

Teams develop through each person getting to know others and trusting them. This requires cooperation, goodwill, and friendliness to build relationships. Get to know others more. What are their activities, hobbies, interests, visions, values, dreams – and be prepared to share yours!

9) Create opportunities for intense experiences

Groups become teams as people work and relate together. Intense experiences have a way of pulling people together, creating rapport, honesty, and trust. When we have to depend on each other, we become more real and authentic. When we work together to make something happen we move beyond embarrassment, self-consciousness and hurt feelings. We learn to give constructive and friendly feedback, have productive communications and, together, become a team that can face problems and solve them.

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