fostering a community of people interested in exploring strengths
"If only I had a stronger team!" There are few leaders who have not thought this at one time or another. Yet, successful leaders seem to develop strong teams wherever they go, whatever task the team is assigned.
Dale Carnegie tells a story about a man in one of his programs who was asked by his wife to list six things that he would like to change about her. The participant recounted that he told his wife he would have to think about it and give her an answer in the morning. He realized that it would be easy to list six things but rather than doing that, he called the florist and ordered six red roses. He had them delivered to his wife with a note that said he couldn't think of six things to change about her; he loved her just the way she was. You can imagine the positive reaction that he received. It was then, he stated that he realized the power of appreciation. Do you show enough appreciation for the strengths of your team members, or do you stay focused only on their weaknesses?
Many leaders have a hard time seeing the strengths in their team members. In a business climate where appreciation is often in short supply, many of us get out of the habit of looking for the strengths in others. It takes a change in our mindset to start seeing individuals in terms of what we admire and appreciate in them.
Combining strengths in a strong team is a little bit like combining ingredients in a great recipe. Just dumping the ingredients into a pan doesn't make a great dish, no matter how excellent each individual ingredient may be. It isn't unusual to see talented, capable individuals who under-perform as a team.
Establish continuous improvement by building on the characteristics of strong teams. Key characteristics of strong teams are:
Cooperation: In a strong team, individuals rely on each other to make processes and interactions function as planned. Strong teams root out uncooperative members and either replace them with people who will move the team process forward, or coach them to more cooperative behavior.
Mutual Respect: In a strong team, individuals avoid arrogance, condescension, and criticism. Successful teamwork is achieved as a result of respecting the talents, opinions, and efforts of teammates.
Democratic: In a strong team, every team member's voice is heard. Each member of the team has a right to question the process, add input, and evaluate the progress of the team.
Capitalize on individual strengths to take teams to higher levels of performance. In a strong team, the leader knows how to capitalize on each member's individual strengths. Not everyone on the team has to be a great people person, but some have to be. Not everyone has to be meticulous, but certain members of the team must be.