Read the literature about the Big-Five Personality Theory, and you may end up baffled how those scoring highly for the trait of neuroticism are able to get through the working day. Characterized by insecurity, anxiety, irritability, oversensitivity and sadness, there is evidence to suggest that neurotics are poor team players who have a weakened ability to focus for sustained periods...Read more
Collaboration is no longer a nice-to-have, it's an organizational structure that defines our work environments. Whether we're talking about cross-functional teams, silos breaking down, virtual meeting rooms, huddles, stand-ups, or the myriad technologies that boost teamwork, collaboration has never been more essential to operations. The team - not the individual - is the secret to business success.
But sometimes, despite your best intentions,...Read more
Of all the personality dichotomies, Sensing and Intuition can seem like oil and water. That's because a person's preference in those areas determines how they process information; whether they prefer facts and reliability of evidence ('what is') or brainstorming future possibilities ('what could be'). Doing work that's out of sync with these preferences almost always leads to burnout, misery and feelings of...Read more
There are two types of employees: those who thrive in a team environment, and those who would rather work alone. Though these two groups can work together cohesively when they need to, they typically accomplish much more when allowed to do things their own way.
In most business environments, the independent-minded person who works better alone has good reason for doing so. Usually, those reasons relate to his or her personality type—the 'lone...Read more
The problem of scaling a team is tough to crack. How do you add more members without breaking the spirit of the existing members? At what point do the old ways of doing things stop working? How can you be sure that the team is scaling at the right rate and in the right way? Success can turn on a small detail, such as a personality clash or one outdated process. What should a team leader do to avoid messing up?
Because every organization is...Read more
To improve future performance, teams must learn from their mistakes. Despite being an irrefutable truth, few teams do this well. This is not due to a lack of willingness on their part - most organizations devote countless hours to after-action reviews, project postmortems and similar analysis to help the team reflect on what it did wrong and avoid similar mistakes in the future. More often than not, these actions fail to drive any real change in future...Read more
Understanding the various personalities on your team is important for getting people working together in the way you'd like. That is why so many organizations use the personality assessment created by Katharine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers when putting together effective teams. Personality assessment tools can help select the right team members - people who are likely to bond, innovate, and follow through on the company's goals such that the output...Read more
One of the most challenging work transitions comes when you face the prospect of leading a new team for the first time. Getting people to work together is not easy, and many team leaders rush over the basics in order to start achieving goals. But the first weeks and months are critical for starting a team off on the right foot. What actions should you take to set the team up for success? How will you get the team working well together, manage conflict...Read more
When putting together a team, conventional wisdom dictates that you strive for a mix of personalities and do whatever it takes to build equality within the group. Inequality of status - where it's pretty clear how everyone ranks compared to their peers - discourages people from sharing ideas and can lead to people feeling undervalued or disrespected. These hot human emotions distract teammates from their tasks and can disrupt even the most focused...Read more
There's something rotten in the state of recruiting. When a candidate looks at a job ad, they would be forgiven for thinking that all employers are looking for people with a specific list of skills - 10 years' experience within an S&P 500 company/advanced understanding of technology platforms/specific industry certifications/proven track record of managing large teams.
Once the candidate gets to the job interview, it's a different story....Read more
Time and again, strong levels of trust in teams have been shown to build employee engagement, enhance customer loyalty, and drive profit growth. When team members have a high level of trust in leaders and each other, the group becomes notably better at achieving business goals.
But while the business case for trust is fairly straightforward, the "how" is considerably more complex. Specifically in relation to work groups, we can define trust as...Read more
What is the secret of productive teams? For the longest time, Google believed that the best teams consisted of the smartest people who got on with each other. But an observation of 180 of its internal teams provided a surprising result: the "who" didn't actually matter. There was nothing showing that a mix of skills,...Read more
Differing opinions, divergent viewpoints, and conflicting ideas are healthy and central to progress. They broaden our perspectives, stretch our minds, and help us to arrive at the best possible strategy and practices. Research suggests that constructive disagreement is enormously important to the success of a team. It increases participation in decision making, encourages collaboration, reduces anxiety, and results in better choices and more creative...Read more
When it comes to harnessing the strengths of teams while avoiding the weaknesses, team leaders have a tough job. Not only must they capture the full diversity of knowledge contributed by team members, they must also provide the right motivators such that individuals feel enabled and engaged with their job. Get the balance wrong, even slightly, and the result can be ruinous.
If that sounds dramatic, then know this: engaged employees are...Read more
In dynamic and competitive markets, it's almost universally understood that the old ways of working don't work any more. Every company has to think outside the box if it is to achieve higher levels of performance. Creativity is the tool that allows teams to work faster, and smarter, and quickly find their way to workable solutions to unique problems.
For anyone in charge of teams, this poses something of a challenge. Boosting your own creativity...Read more
Anyone who has worked in business has, at some point or another, smelt the stench of stale teams. Teams that started out as a success story, wowing clients and higher ups with their creativity, commitment and enthusiasm, can quickly grow complacent. The fact is, it's a hard slog to sustain a high-performing team. Serious graft is required to keep team members rowing in the same direction week after week, year after year.
Fortunately, for teams...Read more
Though we often think about dialogue as a simple conversation between two or more people, it is better defined as the medium through which people with different viewpoints may voice and share possibilities. It requires a number of skills beyond talking: setting aside ego, listening without judgment, creativity, and problem-solving. The idea is that people with alternative perspectives work together so that everyone may attain a deeper collective...Read more
Look around the workplace, and it's clear that conversation isn't what it used to be. Across the office, people are frantically reading, typing, and hitting "send" on emails, texts and social media. We're communicating all the time, perhaps more than ever before. Ironically, everyone's too busy to have an actual conversation.
Communication, as it tends to play out in workplaces, is a structured affair. We monitor our words carefully, give polite...Read more
All work and no play can make Jack a very dull boy — and it can also lead to stress, absenteeism, and burnout. Even the most confident manager can find it difficult to motivate a diverse team of individuals who are so under pressure, they've forgotten how to enjoy their job.
Most managers and HR professionals are convinced that making work fun boosts an employee's ability to perform at optimum levels and deliver a better-quality service, even...Read more
In today's economic landscape, it's more important than ever for businesses to accomplish more with less; a process known as boosting productivity. Productive employees output more work per specific unit of time than less productive employees. It is this increased efficiency that makes the business money.
But keeping employees productive is hard work. Why? Because productivity is primarily an inside job. You can't force it on someone. It comes...Read more
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