Empowerment Leadership Model for Small Groups, Teams, & Families
Course 5, Lesson 22
Developing Teams That Recognize Strengths and Weaknesses with Members Helping One Another
Rather than Expecting Everyone
to Be Good at Everything the Job Requires
Copyright 2001 Dick Wulf
The great advantage of teams is the breadth of talents and skills available. When a successful team knits those strengths together to achieve a team purpose, far superior results are possible.
The professional team leader helps the team recognize the strengths it has in its members as well as the cumulative strength of the whole team acting synergistically. There are so many “mystery talents” waiting for discovery in every team. Unfortunately, those resources are usually overlooked by teams and their leaders.
Therefore, professional team leaders keep in mind that the team needs to recognize the available strengths in its members. It is a task necessary for outstanding success that a team take time and effort to bring out the best in its members. But the team will not do this adequately unless the team leader helps the team do it.
The team leader can best encourage this recognition of talent during team meetings. As the team struggles with a problem, the natural tendency will be for a few more vocal individuals to carry the discussion, most likely leaving out those more knowledgeable but less assertive or extraverted. This is when the team leader can make a timely comment, such as, “Does the team know which team members have special knowledge or talent regarding the problem you are considering?” The team leader might also add, “The team needs to be careful not to overlook talent and defer to the most talkative members.” If this is done regularly, it will not be long before such reminders are unnecessary.
Just because of this tendency of teams to be controlled by those most vocal, teams must also recognize the weaknesses of team members. During team meetings, the team needs to make sure that it is not listening to those with less knowledge, skill or talent regarding the issue under discussion. And, at all times, the team needs to make sure that it is not relying on team members without the necessary talent. That is when a team must see that those with needed strengths help those whose weaknesses might get in the way of team success.
The team leader helps the team with its task of recognizing weaknesses by being comfortable in exposing such weaknesses and dealing with them. The leader might address the team and say something like, “The team needs to assess whose skills are not as high as this task requires and get those skills up or work around that team member’s weaknesses.” There will likely be a bit of a silence when such a concept is first openly stated. But, if the leader clarifies that no criticism is intended, and once it is seen to be safe to admit and recognize weaknesses, everyone will be relieved. The team will help and team members will not have to hide their shortcomings and hope that they do not fail.
Next: Developing Teams That Add Enough to the Job to Make it
Rewarding for Each and Every Team Member
Copyright 2012 Dick Wulf, Colorado, USA