Team mem­bers can’t iden­tify spe­cific be­hav­iors to change on their own.

Finweek English Edition - - MANAGEMENT -

For your team to be­come more ef­fec­tive, they need to know the spe­cific be­hav­iours that inf lu­ence their ef­fec­tive­ness. But re­sponses to even well-crafted and val­i­dated sur­vey items like “Team mem­bers fol­low through on group de­ci­sions” or “Con­flict in­ter­feres with achiev­ing goals” do not by them­selves pro­vide that level of speci­ficity. Iden­ti­fy­ing spe­cific be­hav­iours that need to change re­quires that team mem­bers talk di­rectly with one an­other about what they might do dif­fer­ently.

Raise the dilemma with your team. Test your as­sump­tion that team mem­bers want con­fi­den­tial­ity by ask­ing them di­rectly. Ex­plain the trade-off of sur­vey con­fi­den­tial­ity and ef­fec­tive­ness, in­clud­ing the is­sues of va­lid­ity, be­hav­iour speci­ficity, ac­count­abil­ity and trust. Ask team mem­bers for their re­ac­tions.

Ask which con­di­tions would need to be met for them to com­plete the sur­vey us­ing their names. Work to cre­ate those con­di­tions.

If you learn that low trust is a sig­nif­i­cant is­sue, ad­dress it. Ask mem­bers to be ac­count­able for stat­ing their views but em­pha­sise that no one will be co­erced into shar­ing in­for­ma­tion they are not yet will­ing to share. As­sure mem­bers that pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion and opin­ions, even if neg­a­tive, will not have puni­tive con­se­quences, and en­sure that this is the case. Use a set of ground rules to make the con­ver­sa­tion safe and pro­duc­tive.

Don’t be afraid to use out­side help. An in­ter­nal or ex­ter­nal con­sul­tant can help the It’s key to re­mem­ber that mem­bers of ef­fec­tive teams help one an­other im­prove. They pro­vide one an­other with reg­u­lar, spe­cific feed­back about how their be­hav­iours are af­fect­ing the team and its goals. Re­search shows that reg­u­larly fol­low­ing up with col­leagues is a pow­er­ful vari­able in cre­at­ing long-term sus­tain­able change in lead­er­ship be­hav­iour. To pro­vide this ef­fec­tive feed­back and sup­port, team mem­bers need to agree on the spe­cific be­hav­iours that each mem­ber will change.

Roger Sch­warz is an or­gan­i­sa­tional psy­chol­o­gist, lead­er­ship team con­sul­tant, and pres­i­dent and CEO of Roger Sch­warz & As­so­ciates. He is the author of Smart Lead­ers, Smarter Teams: How You and Your Team Get Un­stuck to Get Re­sults.’’

© 2013 Har­vard Busi­ness School Pub­lish­ing Corp. Dis­trib­uted by The New York Times Syn­di­cate.

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