22 Aug 2011

Lesson 8 – Team Development Lessons Taught by My Dog

Lesson 8. Remember that each team has different rules to live by.

Working with a large variety of teams under development has reminded me of one small but crucial detail when working with teams – they are all different.

This was highlighted with Jake on the weekend at the beach. While we were happy to let Jake frolic on the dog beach, other dog owners were not. While just is scolded when he tries to jump up on people, other dogs were not. While there are some common sense rules to follow when owning dogs, the nuances are what makes each of us different.

The same can be said of teams. While there are some common sense rules for being a good team member, the nuances of how that is applied and regarded is different from workplace to workplace.

I believe that this rule is forgotten when people have worked in a team for a while. People wrongly assume that the behaviours that worked in their old team will automatically work in their new team. As soon as there is a change of workplace, culture, leader or personnel in the team, chances are the dynamics of the team are going to change.

Even in an established team with defined rules of acceptable / non-acceptable behaviour, the team dynamic can change either positively or negatively with the addition of just one person.

Every time a new person is added or removed from your team, it is an opportune time to ask a simple question: ‘What team behaviour does everyone believe will make a successful team?’

So what are the accepted behaviours for your team? Did they change with the addition of a new team member? Does everyone in your team know what you regard as good / poor behaviour?