Category: Building Teams

Changing Your Team’s Perspective

Changing Your Team’s Perspective

The interesting thing about perspective is that everyone has one. One aspect of open-mindedness is that it makes your team receptive to other viewpoints. The concept of changing your team’s perspective includes:

  • Limitations of Your Team’s Point of View
  • Considering Others Viewpoint
  • Influences on Bias
  • What to With New Information

Limitations of Your Team’s Point of View

An important component of critical thinking is having an open mind. This component as well as bias, relates to the team’s point of view. The less open-minded and more biased a team is, the more limited their point of view. The challenge of critical thinking is avoiding the limitations of your point of view and not be constrained by cognitive or mental blinders.

Related: Creative Thinking Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Considering Others Viewpoint

One reason we find it so difficult to consider another’s viewpoint is that we are over-concerned with our own opinions and views. A challenge for the team is to step down from the “mountain of self”, and climb up the “mountain of the other”. Considering others viewpoint is easier when your team understands the benefits. For instance, it helps them be more empathetic, it helps them to see the bigger picture and it also promotes objectivity.

Influences on Bias

Bias influences your team’s conclusions in the logic process. What are some influences on bias? The first thing that can influence bias is the way a team member interprets information he or she is receiving. The other influence on bias is the way the presenter or speaker frame questions and information. For instance, researchers have found that hypothetical questions influence behavior and promote bias. The key to not being influenced by hypothetical information is to remember that it is just that and not factual information.

When New Information Arrives

When your team receives new information, how should they organize it? Probably the most common way of handling new information is through an organization schema. Schemas indicate which role new information plays. It compartmentalizes information into a familiar format, which makes it easier for the team to use.

Conclusion

Changing your team’s perspective involves getting your team to be more receptive to other viewpoints. You want your team to avoid the limitations of their point of view and be more open-minded. Your team will be more likely to consider the viewpoint of others when they understand that it makes them more empathetic, it helps them see the bigger picture and promotes objectivity. You also want to change your team’s perspective so that their bias do not influence their conclusions in the logic process.

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5 Styles of Resolving Conflicts While Building a Team

5 Styles of Resolving Conflicts While Building a Team

There are five widely accepted styles of resolving conflicts which you can use while building your team. These were originally developed by Kenneth Thomas and Ralph Kilmann in the 1970’s. Understanding all five styles and knowing when to use them is an important part of successful conflict resolution in your team.

Collaborating

With the collaborating approach, the members of the team involved in the conflict,  work together to develop a win-win solution. This approach promotes assertiveness (rather than aggressiveness or passiveness).

This style is appropriate when:

  • The situation is not urgent
  • An important decision needs to be made
  • The conflict involves a large number of people, or people across different teams
  • Previous conflict resolution attempts have failed

This style is not appropriate when:

  • A decision needs to be made urgently
  • The matter is trivial to all involved

Related: Cooperation Outcome Based Team Building Activity

Competing

With a competitive approach, the team member in conflict takes a firm stand. They compete with the other team member for power, and they typically win (unless they’re up against someone else who is competing!) This style is often seen as aggressive, and can often be the cause of other team members in the conflict feeling injured or stepped on.

This style is appropriate when:

  • A decision needs to be made quickly (i.e., emergencies)
  • An unpopular decision needs to be made
  • Someone is trying to take advantage of a situation

This style is not appropriate when:

  • Team members are feeling sensitive about the conflict
  • The situation is not urgent

Compromising

With the compromising approach, each team member in the conflict gives up something that contributes towards the conflict resolution.

This style is appropriate when:

  • A decision needs to be made sooner rather than later (meaning the situation is important but not urgent)
  • Resolving the conflict is more important than having each individual “win”
  • Power among team members in the conflict is equal

This style is not appropriate when:

  • A wide variety of important needs must be met
  • The situation is extremely urgent
  • One person holds more power than another

Related: Getting to the Root Cause of Team Conflict

Accommodating

The accommodating style is one of the most passive conflict resolution styles. With this style, one of the team members in conflict gives up what they want so that the other team member can have what they want. In general, this style is not very effective, but it is appropriate in certain scenarios.

This style is appropriate when:

  • Maintaining the relationship is more important than winning
  • The issue at hand is very important to the other team member, but is not important to you

This style is not appropriate when:

Avoiding

The last approach is to avoid the conflict entirely. People who use this style tend to accept decisions without question, avoid confrontation, and delegate difficult decisions and tasks. Avoiding is another passive approach that is typically not effective, but it does have its uses.

This style is appropriate when:

  • The issue is trivial
  • The conflict will resolve itself on its own soon

This style is not appropriate when:

  • The issue is important to you or those close to you (such as your team)
  • The conflict will continue or get worse without attention

Conclusion

In any team, conflict is inevitable, and knowing which style of conflict resolution to use or allow will help you build a successful team. Team building activities offer team leaders a safe environment to monitor how team members resolve conflict and what style of conflict resolution they use.

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Overcoming Roadblocks to Building a Team

Overcoming Roadblocks to Building a Team

It is common to encounter roadblocks during the process of building your team. Roadblocks manifest in many different forms. Roadblocks, however, should not spell an end to the team building process. You should expect roadblocks to occur. It is natural for it to happen because we are expecting behavior change, which that in and of itself is a task for the team members.

In this blog post, we will discuss ways to overcoming roadblocks. Some of the things you will learn are identifying common roadblocks, re-evaluate goals and focus on progress. Roadblocks are not dead ends. They are warning signs that will help you identify when you need to intervene and get your team back on track.

Common Obstacles to Building a Team

Building a team takes two parties to accomplish. The team leader must be just as engaged as the team members. Lack of zeal and honesty creates roadblocks that will hinder your team’s ability to reach their goals. Here are some common obstacles we, as team leaders create:

  • Do not have enough time to lead the team properly
  • Lack of confidence in leading the team
  • Fear of confrontation
  • Feels awkward
  • Fear of failure in leading the team
  • Afraid team will not respond

Now, from the team’s perspective, here are some common obstacles they may encounter:

  • Home/life issues are blocking progress
  • Fear of losing their job
  • Lack of confidence reaching the goal
  • Denial there is anything wrong
  • Poor relationship with the team leader

Obstacles come in many different forms. However, the root of the obstacles typically comes from a personal deficiency in their life situation. Maslow’s theory of needs outlines basic needs we all must have in order to reach higher order needs. Here is a brief overview of the needs.

  • Physical need
  • Safety need
  • Social need
  • Esteem need
  • Growth need

The basics of all needs are the physical and safety needs. If a person is lacking in either of these areas, they will find it difficult to progress further into the higher needs. For example, if you know a team member is having issues at home, their physical or safety need may be at risk, creating an obstacle to reaching a team goal, which is a higher order need. When faced with a needs issue, try your best to acknowledge the need and guide them to a qualified resource to assist them with this issue.

Let us look at how to re-evaluate goals and realign the team back to achieving the goal.

Reevaluating Team Goals

As time passes from the original team building session, you want to check in with your team and see where they are at, in respect to the goal that was set. It is at this point, where you may want to re-evaluate the team goal and determine if it is still SMART.

There are several things you want to take into consideration when re-evaluating goals. First, re-evaluating does not mean that you have to change it. Reevaluating is an opportunity to check on the team goal and to determine how your team is doing in achieving this goal. Here are some steps you want to take when re-evaluating a team goal:

  • Revisit the starting point. You want to review where you began. This way you are able to see if progress has been made and your team is moving towards the goal.
  • Determine what has been accomplished. Look at what the current performance level is and compare it to the starting point determined earlier.
  • Review the amount of time left with respect to the goal date. You want to see if the amount of improvement is aligned with how much time has passed or how much time is left before the goal date is reached.
  • Determine if the time remaining before the goal date is adequate to fulfill the goal. Here you want to see if there is still enough time to improve and reach the goal.
  • If not enough time is left to accomplish the team goal by goal date, then set a new goal and goal date based on how much improvement has been accomplished and the time it took to get there.
  • If there is still enough time, set smaller goals to help the team move towards the established general goal.

In overcoming roadblocks, you may need to be more flexible. Perhaps the goal originally seemed like a viable goal, but when put into practice it becomes apparent the team will not be able to reach it. Do not become frustrated. Be flexible and understanding of your team if you have to reset a goal.

Related: Goal Setting Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Focusing on Progress in Building the Team

If you find yourself with a team member  struggling with reaching the team goals, you may be tempted to pull them over and discuss how they are missing the mark and the related consequences.

Focusing on the negative aspects will only create more obstacles. Remember the hierarchy of needs mentioned earlier? Well, if you start making the team building session feel more negative, the team member may feel that their place in the team is threatened. If this happens, they will become more fearful and this adds to the roadblocks.

Related: Changing Your Team’s Perspective

Instead of focusing on the negatives, focus on the progress. Tell the team member that you see progress and that you believe that they are able to make their goals. Speaking positively expands the team member’s belief about themselves. Use encouraging phrases like the ones here:

  • I know you are not quite there yet, but you managed to improve this much in such a short amount of time.
  • Your progress is steady and you are showing promise that you will reach that goal.
  • You showed definite improvement since our last discussion. I am confident you are going to hit this goal.

It is easy to speak into the positive aspects of progress. The benefits of focusing on progress could reap the following:

When you speak positively to your team, then positive things come out, but if you speak negatively, and then you will get a negative reaction.

Conclusion

Roadblocks should not stand in the way of building your team. By identifying the obstacles and working towards overcoming each one, team goals can be reached. Sometimes team goals will have to be reevaluated, but if you continue to focus on the positive your team will progress. Team building events are essential in the process of building your team. It gives you the opportunity to interact with your team and identify possible roadblocks in building your team.

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How to Gain Support for Change From Your Team

How to Gain Support for Change From Your Team

It is vitally important to make sure that all team members are on board with a change.

Gathering Data to Support the Change

In order to continue increasing awareness and to build desire to support the upcoming change; the management team must reach out to the team. The force field analysis, developed by German social psychologist Kurt Lewin helps a change management team to:

  • Identify pros and cons of an option prior to making a decision
  • Explore what is going right — and what is going wrong
  • Analyze any two opposing positions.

Related: Decision Making Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Addressing Concerns and Issues About the Change

If concerns or issues arise in the team, then steps must be taken to ensure awareness is continually raised and that desire to support the change is increased. Strategies that can help the change management team responsively address team’s concerns include:

  • Engaging team members, providing forums for people to express their questions and concerns
  • Equipping managers & team leaders to be effective change leaders and managers of resistance
  • Orchestrating opportunities for advocates of the change to contact those team members not yet on board
  • Aligning incentive and performance management systems to support the change.

Evaluating and Adapting

Change is not exempt from Murphy’s Law. And even if something isn’t going wrong, change management team members must constantly be observing, listening, and evaluating the progress and process during a change.

A feedback form can be used to gather information from those involved in a change to help shape the remaining course of the change project. Instead of a paper form, feedback can be obtained through online surveys (Zoomerang.com or Survey Monkey.com), an in-house questionnaire on the intranet, a few questions sent by email, or a focus group. The questions will vary depending upon the subject being queried.

The compiled results of the feedback forms can be used by the change management team members to modify the project plan and/or the communication plan or to work with specific members of the team that may be providing roadblocks to success.

Leading Status Meetings

The team leader must make sure that the project and communication plan remain on track. They need to identify, and explore any issues from the team members that have emerged, and review and consider any feedback gathered to date.

Acting as a facilitator, the leader helps to bring about learning and productivity. Communication will be a byproduct of this by providing indirect or unobtrusive assistance, guidance, and supervision.

He or she listens actively, asks questions, encourages diverse viewpoints, organizes information, helps the team reach consensus, and understands that the individual needs of team members will affect teamwork.

The LEAD model provides a simple methodology for facilitating a participative meeting:

Lead with objectives:  When clear objectives are stated up front, group energy is channeled toward achieving an outcome. The objectives shape the content of the meeting.

Empower to participate: In the Lead model, the facilitator is empowered to encourage active participation.

Aim for consensus: Getting the team to consensus will have members more likely to support and carry out the decisions of the team.

Direct the process: How the meeting progresses will influence the quality of the decisions of the team, and influences the commitment of team members.

Team leaders must differentiate between process and content. Content includes the topics, subjects, or issues; process is about how the topics, subjects, or issues are addressed.

Related: Leadership Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Celebrating Successes

Because communications from managers and team leaders have been shown to have a significant impact on team members during a change initiative, it is appropriate that they be actively involved in celebrating success with the team members as a result of positive performance. Celebrations can occur on three levels:

  1. One on one conversation: In a private meeting, a team leader should attest to the fact that due to the team member’s effort, a change was made, and how it is succeeding. He or she should extend verbal thanks to the team member.
  2. Public recognition: Public recognition officially acknowledges outstanding performance and points out a role model that helped make a successful change happen. Team leaders should carefully consider who receives recognition, and not alienate team members who participated in the change but who many not have distinguished themselves significantly.
  3. Team celebrations: Fun or engaging team activities are used to celebrate key milestones by a group. They include buffet or restaurant lunches, dinner events, or can include group outings to sports, amusement, or cultural events. It is important that these types of celebrations try to include the involvement of the primary change sponsor in some way.

Sharing the Results and Benefits of the Change

In order to sustain the impact of a change, it is important for everyone who is involved in the process to know what results are occurring. This occurs across a number of dimensions. Ongoing feedback is needed from team members at all levels.

 

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Help Your Team Deal With Change by Identifying the WIFM

Help Your Team Deal With Change by Identifying the WIFM

For change to be successful, the team members must desire to support and participate in the change. Simply building awareness does not generate desire. Showing the team what is in it for them will produce a great starting point and help generate support. The beginning of the change process is very important and showing the affected parties how the change will improve their environment will initiate the process on the right foot.

What’s in it for Me?

In order to answer the question “What’s in it for Me?”, or WIFM, change management leadership must create energy and engagement around the change. This builds momentum, and instills support at all levels of the organization. Factors that influence WIFM are:

  • The nature of the change
  • The organizational context for the change
  • A team member’s personal situation
  • What motivates the team member as an individual?

Building Support

Effective communications are essential for building support throughout the team.

Whoever communicates with the team members impacted by a change must have a clear understanding of the overall nature of the change, its reasons, and how it aligns with the vision for the team. He or she must understand the risks of not changing, the timing of the change, and what people will be most impacted by the change.

Related: Communication Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Communications options are many, including email, presentations, postings on the organization’s intranet, flyers and circulars, banners, online or phone conferences, and special social events.

Beforehand, communicators should identify and segment audience groups, craft messages appropriate for each audience, and determine the most effective packaging, timing, and methods for communicating.

  • Executive sponsorship
  • Coaching by managers and team leaders
  • Ready access to business information

 

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Promoting an Effective Work Etiquette in Your Team

Promoting an Effective Work Etiquette in Your Team

Etiquette refers to unwritten rules or norms of acceptable conduct within a professional environment. Violations of etiquette are not always punishable by company law, but ignoring etiquette guidelines have considerable consequences for the team member and team.

In this blog post, you will be introduced to some tips in practicing work etiquette in a team. In particular tips related to proper greeting, respect, involvement, and political correctness will be discussed.

Related: Digital Etiquette for Your Virtual Team

Greetings

The seeds of civility can be planted in an organization by encouraging every team member to give their fellow team members, greetings befitting the professional nature of the work environment.

What rules of greeting etiquette are worth remembering? Consider the following:

Formal Greetings: Always give a formal acknowledgment of another team member’s presence, regardless of that person’s rank. Starting an interaction with greetings is a way of establishing rapport with new acquaintances and maintaining rapport with old ones. A “Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening” is an excellent way to both initiate and maintain a positive relationship with a co-worker, client, or business partner.

In the same vein, greetings are best followed by expression of sincere interest in the person that you saw or met. For example, you can reply to an exchange of Good morning with “How do you do?” or “How are you doing today?”

When used as a greeting, questions like “How do you do?” are not meant to be answered in great detail. You can consider them as a polite way people can get abreast of what it going on in people’s lives. An appropriate reply can be as short as “I am doing very well. My son graduated from high school yesterday and the family is very thrilled. How about you? How are things at your end?” You and your fellow team member can always schedule a longer chat at a more appropriate time.

Informal Greetings: Informal greetings can also be a great way of developing civility in a workplace. If familiarity is already established among team members, or when expressly invited to, informal greetings can set up positive working relationships in a team. The use of “hi” and “hello” can put team members more at ease with each other, and set the foundation for social awareness.

Nonverbal greetings such as smiles, taps on the back, a handshake, a high five are also ways to develop civility within the team. Note though that it is not recommended to assume any familiarity unless expressly invited to.

Other etiquette rules worth considering when it comes to greeting:

  • Give greetings the attention that they deserve. Saying good morning to an entering team member while you remain busily sorting folders on your desk can actually come across as uncivil instead of civil behavior. Instead, pause whatever it is you’re doing, even for a few seconds, to offer your pleasantries. Establish eye contact; stand up when greeting a superior or a client, even step from behind your desk to offer a handshake if necessary. Make the other person feel that you’re greeting them because you want to, not because you have to.
  • Remember that greetings are not limited to face-to-face conversations. Even when sending and receiving written correspondence, including electronic communication such as emails or an instant message, it is recommended that you begin and end your letter with a greeting. “Dear (name)” is traditionally greeting for written and electronic correspondence; the word dear is acceptable for both formal and informal communication. “Greetings!”, “Hope all is well at your end.” are also acceptable salutations. Letter closings can include a greetings like “Best Regards,” “In appreciation of your message,” and “Cheers,”
  • In business settings, rank and professionalism matters. Make sure that you’re always sensitive to the power dynamics in a team when offering greetings. For example, avoid addressing your boss using his or her first name/nickname unless given permission to.
  • The questions of “who should initiate a greeting?” and “when to offer a greeting? “are often debated, but a good rule of thumb is to always initiate a greeting as soon you see another team member, regardless of rank. After all, you can’t go wrong with courtesy! The exception is when the other person is otherwise engaged and will likely construe your greeting as an interruption instead of a pleasantry. Greetings must also be appropriate to the context; you can’t offer a cheery greeting when the mood is grim or solemn such as during the aftermath of a workplace accident.

Respect

It may be said that the foundation of civility is respect.

Respect refers to positive esteem for another team member, one that demands both deferential and considerate behavior. Respect is commonly perceived as something persons of higher rank demand from their subordinates.  In reality though, respect is something every team member, regardless of rank, both freely give to, and inspire in, those they interact with.

In many ways, respect can be summarized in terms of attitudes. When you respect another team member, you understand that he or she is a person of worth, which in turn demands that you treat him or her ethically. A team member’s worthiness of respect has little to do with his or her job performance. All people are deserving of respect regardless of their contribution to the team.

Respect may also be conceptualized in terms of boundaries; that is, we know that we can’t act just as we please when relating with a team member that we respect. Every team member, for example, requires work space in order to perform their task effectively. Intruding on this workplace, for instance, speaking loudly when you know someone is conducting a task that requires mental concentration can be a sign of disrespect.

What are the ways you can show respect for your fellow team members? The following are just a few ways to consider:

  • Practice active listening. Every team member deserves to be given attention when they’re communicating. In fact, it’s recommended for team members to make a habit of encouraging their peers in contributing more to the discussion. More importantly, give each team member’s message fair consideration. Just because a suggestion came from someone not considered as a subject matter expert doesn’t mean that the suggestion is automatically without merit. (Active Listening will be discussed in more detail in a later module.)
  • Respect your fellow team member’s property. Disrespect in a team plays itself, not just through face-to-face interactions, but also through lack of consideration for another team member’s belongings and work space and privacy. For instance, it’s not uncommon in offices to have issues regarding missing lunches from the kitchen, or missing pens and staplers from a desk! Clarify from the onset what is to be considered as office property and personal property.  Better yet, establish rules and guidelines when it comes to using any and all equipment and materials from the office. For instance, should reservations be first made before using a meeting room? These rules and guidelines can go a long way in maintaining civility in the team.
  • Respect the right to own beliefs. Most companies advocate diversity in the workplace. Diversity means that you’ll have people of different religions, political beliefs, abilities, traditions, and values working in the same team. For as long as a team member’s faith and beliefs do not interfere with his or her work performance, there’s no reason for said faith and beliefs to be an issue in the company. And definitely, no team leader or team member has cause to compel a person to convert religion and abandon belief systems. A healthy debate is okay, but only for social purposes and not as a way to discriminate or bully.
  • Use your fellow team member’s time wisely. A little known way you can practice respect in the team is by respecting your fellow team member’s time. On the job site, time is an important commodity, especially when there is much to be done and employees are paid on an hourly basis. Don’t waste your fellow team member’s time with idle gossip or unimportant concerns. Keep team meetings short and to the point. And set appointments instead of ambushing. These little acts of courtesy may not look much at first glance, but they will surely be appreciated by those with lots to do and think about.

Involvement

Involvement refers to an active participation in the activities of the team. There should be a feeling of personal investment in how the team is doing. Involvement also demands that you don’t just content yourself with getting the tasks in your job description done. Instead, you’re on the constant lookout for ways to make yourself an active part of the team system. When the system is experiencing problems, you don’t view yourself as merely “caught in the crossfire” or a “victim.” Instead, you see yourself as a potential “agent of change.” You jump at opportunities to better your team as soon as the opportunity presents itself. And you don’t wait to be told what must be done; you take the initiative to inquire how you can be of help.

Being Politically Correct

Political Correctness, commonly abbreviated as PC, is a way of addressing, and at times behaving towards, other team members that takes special care in not creating offense against others, especially against potential victims of discrimination.

Political correctness is based on the idea that language captures attitudes, and potentially insulting language, even if delivered unintentionally by a speaker, can communicate and perpetuate prevailing negative attitudes against people commonly discriminated against.

An example of political correctness is the use of the term “persons with disabilities” instead of “disabled person.” This is to ensure that the premium when addressing persons with hearing, visual, mobility impairment, and any other disability, is their personhood instead of their limitations. In fact, the word “challenged” is preferred in some social circles as opposed to “impaired” (e.g. vertically challenged instead of height impaired) in order to communicate the idea that a disability need not mean lack of capability.

Another example of political correctness is the use of gender-sensitive language. Titles that specify a particular gender, when a position can be held competently by both man and woman, need to be reframed in order to be gender-neutral. For example, the chairperson is preferred to chairman, and cleaner is more acceptable than cleaning lady.

Contrary to popular belief, political correctness is not lying. Neither is it sugarcoating the harsh truth for the people concerned, or patronizing individuals who could otherwise defend themselves. Instead, it’s a way of positively reframing statements that box some members of the population into negative stereotypes.

It is, however, possible to overdo political correctness, to the extent that the positive spirit behind it becomes an object of ridicule.

 

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Ethical Decision Making for Teams

Ethical Decision Making for Teams

A team should always attempt to make ethical decisions. It is possible, however, for two ethical team members to make different decisions in a situation. It is important that your team understand ethical dilemmas and the ethical decision-making process.

The Basics of Ethical Decision Making

Your team members will typically use five different ethical standards to interpret the world around them. For the best results, put the different approaches together and choose the answers that best fit.

Ethical Standards

  • Utilitarian approach: This approach focuses on the consequences of actions. The goal is to do more good than harm in a situation.
  • Rights approach: Focusing on the rights of all involved defines this approach. It makes respecting the rights of others a moral obligation.
  • Fairness approach: Fairness expects people to be treated equally. A fairly based standard is used to determine actions that are unequal such as pay rate.
  • Common Good approach: The conditions that affect all people are considered in the common good approach. Systems and laws are created to ensure the welfare of everyone.
  • Virtue approach: This approach uses virtues such as honesty, compassion, love, patience, and courage to guide behavior.

Related: Decision Making Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Balancing Personal and Organizational Ethics

It is important to be ethical on a personal and organizational level. Personal ethics influence decision both inside and outside of work. These are based on personal beliefs and values. Organizational ethics determine workplace decisions. Team leaders and team members, both face organizational ethics, and the company should have ethical standards in place.

Organizational ethics flow from the top down. Those in leadership need to promote ethical decisions by their example. Occasionally, personal and professional ethics will collide. In the event of an ethical dilemma, it is important to choose based on what is most important and what will do the most good for the parties involved.

Common Ethic Dilemmas in Teams

There are many different ethical dilemmas in teams that are specific to industries. There are, however, common dilemmas that every organization will face.

  • Honest accounting practices
  • Responsibility for mistakes such as accidents, spills, and faulty product
  • Advertising that is honest and not misleading
  • Collusion with competitors
  • Labor issues
  • Bribes and corporate espionage

Law governs many of these dilemmas, but an ethical organization will make the right decision regardless of legal issues. Because these issues are so common, it is important to create ethical standards and train team members to behave accordingly.

Making Ethical Decisions

Before making any final decisions, the team should use the following steps to make sure that they are making ethical decisions.

  • Determine the ethics of a situation: Does the decision affect a group or have legal ramifications?
  • Gather Information: Learn as much as possible about the situation, and get the point of view from all parties involved.
  • Evaluate Actions: Make different decisions based on the different ethical standards.
  • Test Decisions: Would they be proud of this decision if it were advertised?
  • Implement: Implement the decision, and evaluate the results.

Overcoming Obstacles

There will always be temptation to act unethically. These obstacles are particularly difficult to overcome when other people are encouraging a team member to behave unethically. They may be in positions of authority or simply intimidating, but they do not have to give into them.

Overcome Obstacles:

  • Sympathize: Do not attack unethical people. Sympathize with their situation, but refuse to compromise the team’s standards.
  • Make them responsible: Do not quibble. Directly ask people if they want you to do something illegal or unethical. This removes their plausible deniability.
  • Reason: Provide them with logical reasons for your refusal to compromise your integrity.
  • Stay firm: Make a decision and stick to it. Do not let people wear you down.
  • Take precautions: Keep a paper trail of your encounters, and be prepared to defend yourself.

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Implementing Ethics in Your Team

Implementing ethics in your team is a complex but rewarding task. Every team member has a unique set of ethical standards. Allowing each team member to follow his or her moral compass will result in varied results. Companies need to focus on implementing uniform ethical standards and rules throughout their organizations. Team members should never have to question whether or not they are doing the right thing.

Benefits of Implementing Ethics in Your Team

Implementing ethics in a team will also lead to better success and long-term growth. Unethical business practices can cause immediate financial gain, but they will cost companies, customers and employees over time. When unethical practices become public knowledge, it is difficult for a business to recover its reputation. Organizations with reputations for being ethical will also find it easier to earn credit, find investors, and expand into international markets. There are also benefits at the organizational level.

Organizational Benefits:

  • Convinces team members that the company truly value ethical decision-making.
  • Builds awareness of ethical issues.
  • Creates an ethical guideline for team members to follow.

Guidelines for Managing Ethics in Your Team

Managing ethics in the team require certain tools. Every organization needs a Code of Ethics, a Code of Conduct, and Policies and Procedures. These tools direct the organization as team leaders attempt to manage ethics in their teams.

Guidelines for Implementing and Managing Ethics in Your Team:

  • Give it time: Managing ethics is a process-oriented activity that requires time and constant assessment.
  • Focus on behavior: Do not give vague requirements; make sure that ethics management has an impact on behavior.
  • Avoid problems: Create clear codes and policies that will prevent ethical problems.
  • Be open: Involve different groups in ethics program and make decisions public.
  • Integrate ethics: Make sure that all management programs have ethical values.
  • Allow for mistakes: Teach team members how to behave ethically, and do not give up when mistakes happen.

Roles and Responsibilities

The roles and responsibilities necessary to effectively implement workplace ethics will vary with each organization. A manager should be in place to oversee the ethics program, but he or she will need the support provided by other positions. Smaller organizations may not need to fill all of the roles listed below; determine what your company needs before executing an ethics program.

Roles:

  • CEO: The CEO of every company needs to support business ethics and lead by example.
  • Ethics committee: An ethics committee will develop and supervise the program.
  • Ethics management team: Senior managers implement the program and train employees.
  • Ethics executive: An ethics executive or officer is trained to resolve ethical problems.
  • Ombudsperson: This position requires interpreting and integrating values throughout the organization.

 

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Helping Your Team See the Big Picture

Helping Your Team See the Big Picture

Most team members, are responsible for specific areas, and they have little understanding of the impact their decisions have on other areas. When too much focus is placed on one aspect of the organization, it is difficult to make decisions for the good of the company. In order to make effective decisions, it is necessary for the team to examine the big picture.

Short and Long Term Interactions

When looking at the big picture, it is necessary for the team to consider long term as well as short term interactions. Short term interactions are immediate, single exchanges, and they are necessary for the team to survive. Without looking at the big picture, however, short term interactions may hinder the long term success of the team. For example, a team member may damage a business relationship by using aggressive sales techniques, costing the team sales in the future.

Long term interactions are processes or relationships that are essential to growth. Long term team success requires the long term interactions. The relationships with customers, vendors, and other team members need to be carefully cultivated. Failure to cultivate relationships occurs when there is a lack of communication or communication is not respectful. Long term relationships help guide the future of the team.

Improving Long Term Interactions

  • Build relationships: Relationships must be based on mutual trust, respect, and support.
  • Use feedback: Request feedback and listen to complaints.
  • Offer value: Provide value in product, services, and compensation.

Related: Communication Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Recognize Growth Opportunities

It is essential for every team to recognize growth opportunities to ensure long term success. An opportunity is any project that will create growth. Opportunities, however, can be overlooked when we do not pay attention to the big picture. If recognizing opportunities does not come easily for the team, there are steps to take that will ensure that the team do not overlook growth opportunities.

  • Identify market trends: Monitor changes in the market such as technological advancements.
  • Actively research customer needs: Conduct market research and anticipate customer needs, which you will fulfill.
  • Pay attention to competitors: Take advantage of a competitor’s weakness and learn from their strengths.
  • Monitor demographic changes: Changes in demographics indicate a potential shift in customer base or needs.
  • Consult team members: Do not overlook team members’ ideas; encourage brainstorming.
  • Monitor abilities of the team: Pay attention to the skills of the team. Offer training or hire new team members in response to growth opportunities.

Mindfulness of Decisions

Decisions need to be made carefully and mindfully. In stressful situations, it is easy to make decisions based on emotions or external pressure. The team should recognize these events which increase the risk of making a poor decision that can have long term consequences. Mindful decision making combines reason with intuition to come up with decisions that are based in the present.

Decision making Steps:

  1. Be in the moment: Pay attention to how you feel physically and emotionally. This allows you to reach your intuition and understand any feelings of conflict and their source. The source of the conflict may evolve as you become mindful. For example, conflict over the cost of change may shift to conflict that the change goes against team values. Naming the conflict will help the team make the decision without fear.
  2. Be Clear: Investigate for clarity. Begin by investigating your feelings and identifying the type of decision you are making. A neutral decision, for example, should not create a great deal of stress. Once the team identifies the decision, they should make sure they have collected the necessary information to make the decision. Additionally, they should consult the people who will be affected by the decision.
  3. Make a choice: Once they have all the information, they should write down their decision. Take some time to consider this decision. If you are still comfortable with the decision after a few days, act on it.

Related: Decision Making Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Everything is Related

On a team, it is necessary for each person to perform specific roles and functions. Every role in the team is related to each other. For example, poor production and poor customer service will affect sales. Too many sales returns cost the company money, damaging the profits. Each aspect of the business relies on the others. Most people only focus on their specific roles, without considering how they affect the other departments. Looking at the big picture allows the team to see how everything is related, and it begins with the leadership. The leader of the team is responsible for the culture and values.

Related: Leadership Outcome Based Team Building Activities

How to Relate:

  • Be Comprehensive: Monitor every area of the team to make sure each one is reaching their goals.
  • Be Balanced: Make sure that each area of the team is sustainable, and make adjustments as necessary.
  • Be Incorporated: Integrate every aspect of the team with the others. Show team members how they affect each other and the team as a whole.

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The Attention Zones Model for Teams

The Attention Zones Model for Teams

There are four different attention zones: Reactive, Proactive, Distracted and Wasteful. The attention zone determines productivity as well as stress levels. Attention management allows teams to move out of stressful or unproductive zones and manage their time wisely.

Reactive Zone

Many people, particularly team leaders, spend most of their time in the reactive zone. Those in the reactive zone spend their time putting out fires and handling urgent needs. The tasks are important, but they demand time that takes away from scheduled projects. An example would be finding someone to fill in for a sick employee. The task is important and demands immediate attention, but it does not help the team leader meet any of his or her goals or deadlines. Occasionally, a crisis will need to be handled, but attending to one crisis after another should never be a way of life. In order for the team to move out of the reactive zone and stay in the proactive zone, they need to address the time they spend in the distracted and wasteful zones.

Proactive Zone

The proactive zone is where the team wants to be. Teams in this zone work strategically. They are able to plan and achieve goals. Spending time in the proactive zone reduces the amount of time that is spent in the reactive zone because contingency plans will be in place. The proactive zone maintains relationships, budgets, systems, and personal well-being. Review team goals and plan accordingly at the beginning of each week to improve performance in the proactive zone.

Distracted Zone

The distracted zone takes up far too much time. Things in this zone seem urgent, but they are not really important. The distracted zone occurs when other people monopolize the team’s attention. Things like emails and phone calls fall under the distracted zone. Important time and energy is given to other people’s priorities rather than team goals.

Leaving the distracted zone:

  • Turn off email alert: Emails do not always need to be answered immediately. Constant email alerts are distractions that take teams out of the proactive zone.
  • Create a time-blocked schedule: Schedule time to return phone calls and emails and build relationships. Work on projects during the time set aside for them, and do not allow yourself to become distracted by other people.
  • Set boundaries: Stick to the schedule. Do not allow people to draw you away unless it is a real Be firm, and people will learn to respect your schedule.

Wasteful Zone

The wasteful zone is exactly what it sounds like, the zone where teams waste time. Activities that waste time include checking personal email, looking at social media sites, online videos, and other activities that are not productive. It is important to note that people need to occasionally decompress. When time to relax and regroup is not included in a team’s schedule, more time will be spent in the wasteful zone.

Related: Time Management Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Leaving the wasteful zone:

  • Schedule personal time: Take the time to relax, meditate, eat, and socialize. It is not possible to continually focus on a single task, so schedule breaks and take them. It will increase productivity and prevent the need for mind numbing activities.
  • Limit temptation: Internet junkies should turn off their connection when they do not need the Internet, if possible. Turn off mobile devices when working, and indulge pastimes only when appropriate. Remind yourself that the wasteful zone keeps you out of the proactive zone and away from your goals.

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