Four letter words have gotten a bad reputation. I’m sure you can think of a handful of them right now. There’s one four letter word, however, that equals communication, camaraderie, and results. It has the capability to be extremely powerful, yet it often struggles to reach its full potential. It often causes friction, friendship, and frustration, all at the same time. What is this powerful four letter word? TEAM.
You’ve probably seen or heard the acronym for T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Achieves More). Why then is it so hard to create effective, high performance teams? Because teams are made up of individuals, and individuals are imperfect.
I’m often asked how to improve teamwork, resolve conflicts, and improve communication among team members. There is a pretty straightforward formula that is simple in theory, yet extremely difficult in practice:
ACCOUNTABILITY + COMMUNICATION + PERSONAL LEADERSHIP = SUCCESS
The moment we start owning our actions and behavior, communicate effectively, and demonstrate personal leadership, we can accomplish anything, individually or as a team. Let’s take a look at each piece of the equation.
Accountability: While this has become a business buzz word, it simply means taking ownership, knowing that you can’t control anyone else’s behavior but your own. Playing the victim does nothing but frustrate yourself and others. If you focus on what you can control, YOU, it is much more productive.
Communication: We all communicate in our own unique style. Most people don’t try to intentionally miscommunicate, yet poor communication is the number one culprit of dysfunctional teams. Listen to understand, ask questions, adapt to others’ communication style, and most importantly, assume people have the best intentions.
Personal Leadership: Act with character and integrity, regardless of what other people do, and you’ll be a lot happier and more productive. Most of us know when we’re doing or saying something that is less than praise worthy. Would your mother be proud of your behavior? If not, it’s time to re-evaluate.
Teamwork is not just a skill. It is making conscious choices of our behavior and our attitude. It requires patient, persistence, and practice. Not all four letter words are bad. Some can equal phenomenal success!