How well do you know your team members? Besides knowing their names and generally what their jobs are, do you have a realistic understanding of their workplace challenges, the projects they’re involved with, their professional goals, and their unique skills weaknesses or areas of expertise? No? I understand. It’s tough enough having time to get your own work done much less worry about your team members’ challenges. However, the sooner you understand your team members better, the sooner you’ll relieve some of your workplace stress, you’ll strengthen your workplace relationships, and you’ll see your performance - and your entire team’s performance - improve.
The sooner you understand your team members better, the sooner you’ll relieve some of your workplace stress, you’ll strengthen your workplace relationships, and you’ll see your performance - and your entire team’s performance - improve.
We’ve all heard the saying, “Knowledge is power.” It’s true. The more you know, the better positioned you are to make better, more-informed decisions. This is true when you’re anticipating making a major purchase such as a home or a new vehicle. The more research you do, the more-informed and more confident you are when you finally make that important purchase. However, when it comes to making work and team-related decisions, too often we simply jump to the task at hand and don’t take the time to understand the people with whom we are expected to accomplish great things. Too often, we have a mindset of, “We have too much to do and not enough time to do it. We don’t have time to waste on unproductive, touchy-feely stuff!” We tend to not value the importance of at least taking an initial inventory of our team and its capabilities before we start a project with a new team. We too often don’t proactively identify what our team’s strengths and weaknesses are at the outset so we can anticipate and prepare for probable challenges. Instead, we typically just expect that we’ll ‘work things out’ as the project evolves. That’s somewhat like planning a cross-country road trip without first ensuring your vehicle is up to the challenge, but instead telling yourself, “I’ll figure it out.”
Getting to know your team doesn’t need to be a formal process. In fact, it should be relaxed, conversational, and non-threatening. This is an opportunity to spend time, up-front, sharing information about yourself while allowing your team to better understand each other and your levels of experience and resourcefulness. The more you know about each other, the more you can prepare yourself and the team. Here are just a few questions to ask of each other to help you all get to know each other better:
- What will your role be on the team?
- What do you do in other areas of your job? What are your major responsibilities?
- What do you know and what don’t you know about this project/client/vendor, etc?
- What experiences (good and bad) have you had with similar situations?
- What frustrates you about the project/team? What stakeholder concerns you? Why?
- What special project-related skills do you possess that may not be apparent?
- What are you not good at doing?
- What makes you laugh? What makes you angry?
- How do you perform best (ahead of schedule, lots of collaboration, work alone, work at night, early morning person, etc)?
- How do you prefer to interact with the other team members?
The more you learn about your team members, the better positioned you are to interact intentionally, effectively, and productively with them.
How well do you know your team?
Copyright MMXIX - Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com +1.717.597.8890
Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching. Learn more about Liz on LinkedIn!