For introverts like me, working in teams can be very stressful, but it is more a fact of working life now than ever before. As a result, I am also glad to find some useful tips on how to work in teams better, and one such piece of useful advice comes from Leigh Thompson in the July 2016 edition of KellogInsight (read it here).
Thompson offers some strategies for teams, based on her extensive research in the area as an academic leader at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Without wanting to take anything away from the substance of the article, and it is highly recommended you read it for a richer experience, a quick summary of the main points are:
1.Teams are not cocktail parties: don’t invite everyone.
- In other words, keep things small and co-opt specialists when you need them.
- Also, think about changing the membership regularly in order to keep ideas fresh.
2. It is possible to set ground rules without stifling creativity.
- You will probably find that some structure will actually provide a safe environment for the creative juices to flow.
- At a minimum, have a clear goal for the team, and a brief charter of how to function. Teams that do this are proven to be more nimble.
3.Drop the pride talk. Vulnerability can be a good thing.
- Almost counterintuitively, but based on research, team members who have shared an embarrassing moment typically generate more ideas in subsequent brainstorming sessions.
4.You may be able to cut your meeting time in half – if you are smart about it.
- Again, based on research, it is better to have four one-hour meetings than two two-hours meetings. The article has some really practical tips to help with this.
5.It is possible to get along too well. Agree to keep disagreeing.
- Disagreement that is properly managed helps teams to avoid groupthink by probing the strengths and weaknesses of any idea.
This week, think about teams you are a part of, and see if there is an opportunity to introduce one or maybe two of these suggestions, and take your team to the next level. The Avondale Business School can assist your team to become an effective team – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.
P: 02 4980 2168