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Daniel Kehoe: Teamwork and transparency

HOW would you describe the work group you lead and manage? Are they a collection of individuals independent of the actions of others? Or are they a team which communicates and collaborates to the extent required? Or are they a high-performance team? What is a high-performance team? If you don’t know then you have probably never worked in one. The Mafia has high-performance teams led by a caporegime or capodecina – a lieutenant who typically heads a ‘crew’ of around 10 ‘soldiers’. They get 100 per cent compliance with their team practices as members inclined to stray are killed or their family members killed. But with your work group, you probably don’t need to kill anybody. Here is a checklist to explore how well you are leading your team. As you review the list, answer these questions: What needs to happen? What could be done better? • What you can and cannot do in relation to team performance is defined, explained, understood and applied. • You express and explore all perceptions about team performance issues in a balanced, objective and factual manner. • The background and the reasons behind team decisions that affect the ways you do your work are explained and accepted. • You show commitment to team decisions and follow through on those decisions. • There are no repercussions (overt or covert) if you speak honestly and openly about unacceptable team practices or behaviours. • You facilitate conformance with the best team practices where there are conflicting opinions. • Team decisions that need to be made are made even though they may not please all team members. • Decisions that have an adverse effect on team performance are reversed or modified. • Both the positive and negative consequences of planned changes are discussed openly. • Background issues that may be a root cause of unacceptable behaviour at work are identified and resolved. • In relation to initiatives or changes, you clarify what the team will do and why. • Clear direction is provided to the team and individuals when the situation requires it. • Support is provided to the team and individuals when the situation requires it. • You improve team practices in the light of changing circumstances and changing customer expectations. • You identify and eliminate or modify blockages to better team performance. • Team performance is not compromised by workload and production demands. • Attitudes and behaviour detrimental to team performance are identified and resolved. • When required, people receive adequate counselling, training, coaching or mentoring related to team behaviour. • You identify and acknowledge examples of outstanding team performance. • You constantly measure the achievement of desired team performance. • You actively listen when discussing issues that affect team performance. • You demonstrate the team behaviours are expected of others. • You share responsibility for team leadership and team development so you are continuously improving your team results. • As a team, you provide appropriate feedback to your leader on the role they currently play with the team, and include specific suggestions for changes, if required.

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