Empowerment Leadership Model for Small Groups, Teams, & Families
Course 5, Lesson 17
Developing Teams That Think Through
What Will Be Necessary to Accomplish the Team’s Purpose
Copyright 2001 Dick Wulf
The first step to getting teams to think how to accomplish their purpose is the initial discussion by the team and its members just after forming a team about appropriate and necessary behavior for success.
But teams are notorious for discussing things and even making decisions, yet not implementing those decisions. Following through on initial decisions on how to accomplish the team’s purpose is critical, and the successful team leader often asks the team to take a look at how the team is doing in working on its purpose and how progress can be improved. If this is asked seldom, the team is most likely to become dependent upon a reminder from the team leader to analyze its progress. However, if the team leader asks the team often and regularly how it is doing on working toward its purpose and implementing decisions and action plans previously decided, it will become automatic for the team to assess itself.
Lack of progress and lack of accomplishment usually bring a team to disillusionment, discouragement and abandonment of the challenging aspects of the initial purpose. But, lack of progress should merely be a challenge. The team leader must encourage the team to identify its lack of progress and problem-solve. In expecting eventual success, the team leader does not allow the team to even approach discouragement and lethargy.
While the team is working on its tasks and agendas, the skillful team leader should be analyzing the team’s progress toward its purposes, goals and objectives. This is done silently in the leader’s thought processes. When the team leader perceives a lack of progress, he or she should make note of it and wait a little while to see if the team will identify its own lack of progress. This fits the principle of not doing for others what they can eventually do for themselves. But, if the team does not recognize its lack of progress after a while, then the team leader should ask the team how its progress is coming. This subtle hint usually helps the team take a look, and forward momentum will resume.
Once the team recognizes its lack of progress, with or without the team leader’s help, the team leader should wait to see if the team will analyze its own functioning, problem-solve, and implement a plan of action to overcome the inertia. If, within reasonable time, the team does not do something about its lack of progress, the team leader should ask the team what it wants to do to turn its lack of progress around. The team leader then must not offer too many suggestions or the team will back off from being independent and wait for the leader to decide what to do. Such will undermine the team’s efforts to think through what will be necessary to accomplish the team’s purpose.
Last, remember that avoiding the four major mistakes in team leadership will help a team struggle with what is necessary for success. Leading the team as a whole will help the team know that it is fully responsible to work toward accomplishing the purpose, instead of the leader or a few assertive team members. Helping the team establish a significant purpose will provide the challenge necessary to motivate the team and its members. Helping the team by not doing what the team and its members can do will provide and sustain the team’s ownership and allow the team to think through what will be necessary to accomplish the team’s purpose. And helping the team develop synergy will draw out the best ideas on how to accomplish the team’s purpose.
Next: Developing Teams That Encourage Every-one
to Make Their Best Contributions
Copyright 2012 Dick Wulf, Colorado, USA