Saturday, 24 May 2008

Team Building, What does the leadership need?

It has always been a paing, Yes PAIN... building Team is not a easy task, you have to be calm, patient, understanding, shrewd, helping and above all energetic... Many times team building is not even considered when teams are formed. Mostly what I see in the Service sector of the IT world in India it appears like Teams are formed and collapsed.... The process that we call forming -> norming -> perform and out stand is nevertheless given importance.. as opposed a policy of HIRE and FIRE is applied.

As Building Team comes into discussion I always feel that you need a strong leadership that would apply various rules and methods to build a strong force as opposed to just a Team... Here are a few things that I see important in the Team Building process:

1. Goal Setting

Every Member of the Team needs to know what his goals are for the year / period / project / release or task. Goal less members cannot form a Team... I heard a story in my childhood when a Sailor asks a Bird about a destination... the bird just flies down the sky and says If I had known it I would have being resting and not running around in open sun and sea.... A Goal less Team member is a Headless chicken and cannot let the Team build. Specifying and measuring goals will help achieve fair degree of Team spirits as each one would know what they have to achieve and of course they are in line to organisational objectives....

2. Communicating
Its important that everyone knows how to communicate, they need to be made understand on how to communicate. There should be a fair degree of open culture where everyone is asked to openly talk... a few times I have realised that the quietest people are the smartest ones , however the ones that talk a lot get the paycheck .... Communication has to be fair and in a 360 degree angle... anyone should have access to anyone...

3. Inspiring
Inspire them to grow, Inspire them to think, Inspire them to innovate, Inspire them to critisize, Inspire them to do what they want to.... Yes Inspire them to fly... Its important that everyone in the team is inspired... un inspired mammals are like dead bodies... talk, Understand , Implement and Iterate this till they do what they want to do....

4. Do they Reflect it?
A healthy culture? A spirited soul ? A fresh mind? A killing attitude? Ask them what they have learnt every now and then and make them learn new things... Get them to a place where they start asking themselves on what I have learnt and am I on it or not... Not just this it is important that reflections are thrown to every part of the organisations.... think about Vipin talking about organisational values, think about Shankar loving everyone the Team member, think about people who had quit wanting to be a part of you again... isn't it all reflection? I learnt and I want to learn more....

5. You Suck!!!
Not many take criticism healthy... not many criticize healthy... this is the biggest team building killer... kill it. have sessions to criticize... I always wanted to arrange workshops where every week one person is going to be criticized.. let him /her know what wrong they have done for the whole week not from one person to have grudge or bad feel but from all anonymous masks where no one knows no one.

6. Where is my Mentor?
Let them find their mentors.. let them choose. They need to decide from whom they will learn and what.. its important that they understand and realise that there is a lot of mentoring available and each one of them are ready to mentor others... whoa did we just not plan to conquer the world?

7. Share / Earn / Laugh
Why go to a laughing school when you can sit with your team and make everyone laugh while you do the same... its important that the Team enjoys each others company.. let them laugh and laugh loud.. so that they feel the emotions and burn the frustrations... Laugh is a medicine to the success of Team building activities.. it begins with a laugh and that is what exists and persists...

8. He cannot do it SO CANT I?
Its important that you put yourself in the shoes of others and then talk... i remember Yogesh N once telling me that "I think it would have got delayed if anyone would have done it..." its not about someone not able to do it... its about can you think what he can think of...moreover can you stand for what he stood for? Why not discuss Rama here when he choose to say that even if I had worked on the upgrade to Hibernate I would have taken same or maybe more time.... its all about Team and the bonding... the more you understand each other the more you say that...

9. Commit to your mistakes
Let each one of us come out and commit what we do wrong.. what we can do better and what we intend to do.. there is nothing stronger than committing your mistakes and facing what is lying ahead of you... put the Team into the habit of being honest

10. Driving
Drive them to the best... Till they become the Ants or the Penguins they need to be driven.. Get every one drive everyone but in one force and flow... Its important that they are driven in the right directions... the more they go right the more they learn and earn...

11. Timing
Have you heard of a father who's son asked him how much he is paid every hour? And then he comes back and pays his father just to get time from him? Well your Team is like that... make sure that out of work you find time for them.. be with them when they think they need you. Make yourself available for what they need.. Make this a habit , make this as a passion... after all as a Manager you are not a Supervisor but a force...

12. Loving
Teach them how to love each other and stand by each other.. now this is not something you can do easily... When they love each other they love what they do..

Do you think you have some more to discuss? Why not share?