Improve your team performance

“Not finance. Not strategy, Not technology. It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare”. This opening sentence from Patrick Lencioni in his best-selling book ‘The Five Dysfunctions of a Team’ sets the scene for why so many organisations invest in team development as they strive towards creating units that are both cohesive and high-performing. This requires them to be functioning well beyond simply co-existence but achieving their business results by mastering each of The Five Behaviours which can elevate team performance, which is explored in the model. 

Trust – Building The Foundation Of A Cohesive Team

Trust can only happen when team members are willing to be completely vulnerable with one another. There is confidence among team members that their peers’ intentions are good and that there is no reason to be protective or careful around each other.

How does a team build vulnerability-based trust?

Using a behaviour assessment such as DiSC can give team members deeper insights into themselves and their peers. It can help people understand each other and get comfortable being transparent about personal limitations.

Conflict – Embracing Healthy Conflict Is Possible With Trust

Even though many of us may naturally try to avoid conflict at work, by doing so, we’re missing out on the kind of passionate debates that are essential to any great team. All lasting relationships require productive conflict to grow.

When team members build a foundation of vulnerability-based trust, conflict simply becomes an attempt to find the best possible answer. Productive conflict around concepts and ideas has the potential to produce the best possible solution in the shortest time.

How does conflict help teams succeed? A team that engages in conflict minimises politics and puts critical topics on the table for discussion. It also extracts the ideas of all members, helping to solve real problems quickly and improve team performance. 

Commitment – Buying In On Decisions Despite Initial Disagreements

In the context of the Five Behaviours model, commitment is clarity around decisions, and the ability to move forward with complete buy-in from every member of the team. – Including those who may have initially disagreed with the decision. Great teams understand they must be able to commit even when the outcome is uncertain and not everyone initially agrees.

How may different behavioural styles approach commitment?

Recognising that each style may have a different approach enables the team to ensure that everyone is fully committed. Some may make up their minds quickly in a desire to take action, others may be more comfortable committing when others in the team appear to agree, careful decision-makers will want to be sure before they commit and others may be swayed by objective information rather than intuition. 

Accountability – Calling Out Peers On Behaviours That Might Hurt The Team

It’s not uncommon for people to be unwilling to tolerate the interpersonal discomfort that accompanies calling out a peer on his or her behaviour, preferring to avoid difficult conversations. Effective teams overcome these natural inclinations. Applying peer pressure is a good thing when it comes to workplace teams. It gives team members a sense of feeling trusted and respected, and members feel a responsibility to get things done right.

The skill of giving feedback appropriately is key. Some may be ready for a straightforward delivery, others may need greater explanations and a more logical explanation. Understanding how your colleagues prefer to receive such feedback is a good place to start when preparing to develop true accountability, which is more than just expecting that they will do what they say.  

Results – Staying Accountable And Focused On Collective Results

The ultimate goal of encouraging trust, healthy conflict, commitment, and accountability is to achieve results. And yet, as it turns out, one of the greatest challenges to team success is the inattention to outcome-based results.

Aren’t all teams working toward results?

Results would naturally seem to be the driving force behind a team. However, sometimes team status and individual goals get in the way. A focus on team status occurs when merely being part of a group is satisfying enough, regardless of results. Individual status refers to the familiar tendency of people to focus on enhancing their positions or career prospects at the expense of the team.

The emphasis is on collective results. Great teams ensure all members, regardless of their responsibilities and areas of expertise, are doing whatever they can to help the team accomplish its goals.

Mastering these five behaviours is not easy. It takes both effort and time. But the results when achieved can elevate your team into one that works cohesively to deliver results. 

Image source: used under license from John Wiley & Sons. 

I have over 20 years experience supporting businesses to develop their people for the benefit of their business. I am an Authorised Partner for Everything DiSC® and The Five Behaviors® suite of assessments.