According to Business Dictionary, a team is a group of people with a full set of complementary skills required to complete a task, job, or project. With that said, it becomes obvious that to be complementary, these skills, and therefore the skill-masters, are opposites. And therein lies the rub, right? If it were possible to put these people together with a single function, the outcome would be easy to guess. However, putting humans together in any function at all involves dragging the whole person into the room, with all their positive and negative characteristics. Finding the balance and making it work is not an easy task, but when accomplished, the results are rewarding. Here are a few ideas to make it easier to blend a team whose opinions and ideas provide conflict at every turn.
1. CENTRAL GOAL: Identify the mission of the team. Reiterate that the team has been assembled because they are the best of the best, and their strengths will complement the other team members. Stress that agreement is not expected, but respect, compromise, and negotiation are.
2. COMMITMENT TO COMPLETION: Clear deadlines and individual responsibility for completion must be accepted.
3. INDIVIDUAL AND GROUP STRENGTHS: Introduction of each team player by defining their contribution to the team is key, even in teams that have been established for a while. In groups where work has been accomplished, or not, the lines may blur. Individuals competing for task assignments or arguing over end results may set up issues for the next project. Let each member know why the other members are there, and what you are looking for as each member brings their skills to the table.
4. CONFLICT AS ENLIGHTENMENT: Build out the need for various ideas as a way to expand the strength of the group. Bringing various political views, such as progressive and conservative, gender-specific interpretations, and even personal ideologies to the discussion will yield a variety of facets of understanding. Asking each person to consider these as a whole, then work toward a solution without isolating one person or idea opens the door for dialogue.
5. PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS: Finding common ground aside from the differences means that new relationships may thrive where none was before. What may have been jabbing at one another over the world series could be turned into some worthwhile discussion of teams and stats. Respect may be found in each other’s knowledge, and the outcome becomes more good-natured. Political disagreement may be buffered by discussion of issues that are common to both parties, and where solutions often meet in the center. Once common ground is discovered in one area, it is often easier to find the same in other more difficult issues. It may be possible to direct these interactions with activities designed to build. For instance, taking a few minutes to openly discuss an issue that may be thorny gives opportunity for thought and follow-up conversations at the water cooler. Last, understand that at times a personal conflict may be more than the group as a whole can work around. In that situation, you must be willing to re-assign and replace for the good of the group.
Having people in a room is just a meeting. Putting a team together with a desired result and completed goal is much more valuable. This list of pointers may help you turn that room of people into your dream team.
MG (Retired) Mike Diamond is CEO and founder of Diamond Strategy Group. Diamond Strategy Group is a leadership development and consulting company. We focus on improving the quality of leadership within organizations by utilizing the same methods Mike and his consultants have used in both military and civilian sectors. We invite you to stay connected! Visit us online at www.DiamondStrategyGroup.com and connect with Mike Diamond onLinkedIn,Facebook and Twitter! E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org!