Tag: Team

Paraverbal Communication Skills for Team Leaders

Paraverbal Communication Skills for Team Leaders

“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” – Peter Drucker

How you say something to your team is just as important as what you are saying. How you say something is known as paraverbal communication and include the pitch, tone, and speed of your words when you communicate.

The Power of Pitch

Pitch can be most simply defined as the key of your voice. A high pitch is often interpreted as anxious or upset. A low pitch sounds more serious and authoritative. Your team will pick up on the pitch of your voice and react to it. Variation in the pitch of your voice is also important to keep your team members interested. If you naturally speak in a very high-pitched or low-pitched voice, work on varying your pitch to encompass all ranges of your vocal cords.

The Truth about Tone

Did your mother ever say to you, “I don’t like that tone!” She was referring to the combination of various pitches to create a mood.

Here are some tips on creating a positive, authoritative tone when communicating with your team.

  • Try lowering the pitch of your voice a bit.
  • Smile! This will warm up anyone’s voice.
  • Sit up straight and listen.
  • Monitor your inner monologue. Negative thinking will seep into the tone of your voice.

Related: Communication Outcome Based Team Building Activities

The Strength of Speed

The pace at which you speak also has a tremendous effect on your communication ability. From a practical perspective, a team leader who speaks quickly is harder to understand than one who speaks at a moderate pace. Conversely, a team leader who speaks very slowly will probably lose their audience’s interest before they get very far!

Speed also has an effect on the tone and emotional quality of your message. A hurried pace can make your team feel anxious and rushed. A slow pace can make your team feel as though your message is not important. A moderate pace will seem natural, and will help the team focus on your message.

One easy way to check your pitch, tone, and speed is to record yourself speaking. Think of how you would feel listening to your own voice. Work on speaking the way you would like to be spoken to.

The Importance of Selflessness in Teamwork

The Importance of Selflessness in Teamwork

If you want to contribute positively towards the success of your team, it is important that you place others ahead of yourself. You have to be willing sometimes to take the backseat to other team members. Teams only succeed when its team members are prepared to place other team members above themselves. Being selfless is not always easy but it is a vital part of teamwork.

How to Cultivate an Attitude of Generosity

  • Be Generous. Generosity is at the heart of selflessness that unites and advances the team. A team is well placed for success when it consists of team members that are willing to give of themselves generously for the cause of the team.
  • Avoid Internal Politics. Playing politics on the team is one of the worst forms of selfishness. It usually includes posturing and positioning for your benefit regardless of how it may damage the team’s relationships. Selfless team members are more concerned about other team members benefitting than how they can benefit themselves.
  • Display Loyalty. Only when you show loyalty to other members of the team, can you expect loyalty from them. If you put yourself on the line for your team they will work hard for you and complete the tasks you give them, even in challenging circumstances. Loyalty fosters unity and unity leads to team success.
  • Value Interdependence over Independence. Independence is valuable as it often leads to hard work, innovation and the willingness to stand for what is right. But the independence taken too far has the characteristics of selfishness, especially when it harms or hinders other members of the team.

How to Become a More Selfless Team Member

  • Promote Someone Other Than Yourself. Do not always look to promote yourself and your achievements. Determine to keep silent about yourself more often and praise the work of the other team members. Always look for positive things to say about your team members.
  • Take a Subordinate Role. It is a natural tendency for people to want to take the best place and let others fend for themselves. Practice taking a subordinate role through the discipline of serving others and letting others go first.
  • Give Secretly. Give something to someone that can never repay you. You can make sure that a team member cannot repay you by giving them something in secret. If your giving is done in secret, it is impossible for the team member to repay you.

Resource: The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player

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The Importance of Commitment in Teamwork

The Importance of Commitment in Teamwork

People often have a tendency to associate commitment with emotions. They will follow through on something if they feel right about it. Real commitment is not based on emotions but is a character quality that helps you reach your goals. Where emotions changes and go up and down, commitment has to remain solid. A solid team is made up out of team members with a solid commitment to the team.

Commitment is Discovered in Adversity

You find out how committed the members of your team are when the team faces adversity. Struggles often strengthen a team’s resolve. Adversity promotes commitment and commitment in turn, promotes hard work. The more work a team puts into a project, the less likely they are to give up. Committed team members do not give up easily.

Commitment is not Dependent on Gifts or Abilities

Commitment does not automatically come with talent. You have to connect your gifts and abilities with commitment. Too many highly talent individuals squander their potential because they do not commit. Team members do not always underperform because they lack ability or opportunity, but because they are not using what they already have. If you commit to using the talent you already have, you will find that you have more talent and more to offer the team.

Commitment is a Choice

Whatever the conditions may be, commitment is always a matter of choice. Your conditions do not determine your choices; your choices determine you conditions. When you choose to be committed, you increase the chances of you and your team being successful.

Commitment Lasts When it is Based on Values

It is one thing to commit to something; it is another to remain committed. What do you base your commitment on? Choices based on solid life values place you in a better position to sustain your level of commitment. A commitment to something you belief in, is a commitment that is easier to keep.

How to Improve Your Level of Commitment

  • Tie Your Commitment to Your Values: Take time to reflect on your values. Your values are closely related to your ability to fulfill your commitments. Reevaluate commitments not related to your values and commit yourself to those values that you are not living out.
  • Take Risks: Commitment involves risk. You may fail or your team members may let you down. Give your best anyway, you will not regret it.
  • Evaluate the Commitment of Other Team Members: You cannot make a commitment to an uncommitted team member and expect a commitment from them. Examine your relationship to see if your reluctance to commit is due to the potential recipient being untrustworthy.

Resource: The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player

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Leadership: Modeling the Way for Your Team

Leadership: Modeling the Way for Your Team

The best team leaders are those that are examples of what they want their team to be. An effective leader does not lead from the back. A team leader that sends the team out to face the challenges while remaining in an ivory tower will never gain the respect of the team. By definition, a leader is someone who takes the lead and is ready to take the heat if something goes wrong. A real leader does not blame the team members even if in fact they failed. The real leader takes the blame and addresses how to correct the problem.

Related: Leadership Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Be an Inspirational Role Model

Leadership requires self-confidence and is neither for the timid nor the arrogant. People who lack self-confidence often feel intimidated by a real leader. Do not let a lack of self-confidence hold you back. If you have honesty, integrity and deal with everyone fairly, others will recognize it. A leader should be open to criticism but should consider the source as well. You should not be afraid of what other may say; neither should you ignore legitimate complaints. If you insist on respect solely based on your position, you will easily lose the respect and cooperation of your team.

Influencing the Perspectives of Your Team Members

It is often said that perception is reality. As a leader, it is important that you are always presenting an honest, caring, dedicated attitude to inspire others. If you aim to inspire loyalty in your team members, it is essential that you have a track record of honesty and fairness. Address the issue immediately if any of your team members feel they have been wronged, whatever the reason may be. A problem that is ignored is a problem that grows.

Often the most-powerful influence a leader can have is in not trying to influence someone. If your team feels that you are open to their suggestions and believe that they have been heard, they will work harder even if they disagree with the methods or goals. You will find that simply listening to others make them feel empowered even if they don’t accept your ideas. If the members of your team feel that there is no point in talking to you, then they simply won’t. This could lead to the team members becoming disengaged from your vision and only following your directions begrudgingly.

If your team members see that you are willing to go the extra mile, they are more likely to go the extra mile as well. A team leader that hides in the office will be perceived as uninterested and uninformed, and therefore unworthy to lead. Many successful leaders of large organizations make it a point to seen by their team members every day. When a team member is to be commended for something, it should be done in front of the rest of the team. This will send a powerful message to all the team members.

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Building Effective Teams in the Workplace

It seems as if everybody is talking about the importance of building teams in the workplace, but few know how to do this effectively. In this blog, we are going to look at aspects of building a team, which managers and team leaders can focus on, in order to develop and mold effective, focused work teams.

We will look at the importance of team members’ commitment to each other and to the team mission. Other necessary keys to successfully build teams in the workplace that we will consider include; the competence of team members, team ownership and control, communicating team expectations, team coordination, team context and team collaboration. Attention will also be given to the importance of communication within the team, among team members and between team leaders and team members.

Building Teams in the Workplace
Building Effective Teams

Commitment to the Team

Making sure that all members feel that they are part of the team is essential in building an effective team in the workplace. Create an atmosphere where the members want to be part of the team and are not forced to be part of the team. All the members need to be committed to each other and to the mission of the team. 

Do the team members perceive their service as valued by the organization? Team members need to be excited and challenged by opportunities arising within the team to improve personally and the team as a whole. They need to anticipate recognition and expect their skills to grow and develop on the team.

Ability and Skills of Team Members

Team members should be chosen carefully, ensuring that they have the right skill, competence and expertise for the effective functioning of the team. Ongoing training should be provided to ensure that skills and knowledge level are kept up to date; team members should have easy access to help when required. Members should have all the resources, strategies and support needed to achieve the goals of the team.

Ownership in the Team

How much freedom, empowerment and ownership should be given to the members of the team to accomplish the mission of the team? Team members should clearly understand their boundaries and how far they may go in pursuit of solutions. Limitations in time or capital resources should be defined at the start of the project. The team’s reporting relationship and accountability should be clearly understood by all the team members when building an effective team. It is also the organization’s responsibility to clearly define the team’s authority structures. The team and the organization need to be aligned in direction and purposes. When building a team, in the workplace, all the members of the team must be accountable to each other for project timelines, commitments and results.

Team Expectations

When building a team, members of the team should clearly understand why the team was created, and there should be clear expectations of what is required from them early on in the process of building the team. Clearly define the overall direction and objectives to ensure that all team members know where their job and team outcomes fit within the bigger strategy of the company. They should know why the team was created and what the organization expects from the team.

It is crucial for team members to know how they are performing within the team through goal setting, evaluation, feedback and accountability. It is critical for management to communicate plans and expectations to create an organization in which all components are connected.

Team Coordination

All the teams in the organization should be coordinated by a central leadership which should be available to assist the teams and direct them to success. Teams should be coordinated, and priorities and resource allocation planned across departments, to enable cross-sectional and multi-departmental teams to work together efficiently. When building a team in the work place, traditional departmental thinking should be discouraged and customer-focused and process focused orientation, should be encouraged.

Team Vision

When building an effective team, members of the team need to know why they are in the team and what are their functions and goals. The vision of the leadership need to be articulated to all the members of the team. Leadership vision permeates the workplace and is manifested in actions and beliefs of employees. Every team member should be able to clearly define the importance of their team in accomplishing corporate goals. It is necessary for the team to understand where they fit in, in the context of the organization goals, principles, vision and values.

Team Association and Collaboration

A team leader should understand team progress and stages of development in building a team. Team members and team leaders should know and understand the roles and responsibilities of the team. An appropriate strategy should be in place to accomplish an action plan.

For a team to be successful, all the members of the team should be able to work together professionally and interpersonally. A joint approach to problem solving, process improvement and goal measurement must be encouraged.

Team Communication

There should always be clear communication about the priorities of the various tasks with in the team. When building a team, all members should understand the complete context for the existence of the team. It is therefore vital that management consistently provide relevant information, regarding the organization, to all the teams involved.

Team members must be encouraged to communicate clearly and honestly with each other. They must be allowed to bring diverse opinions to the table, and necessary conflicts raised and addressed. Establish methods whereby feedback can be given and received on a regular basis by all the members of the team.

This is a lot of information to process, but if addressed one step at a time it will go a long way towards building an effective team within the work place.

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