TIGERS Newsletter: Are Your Team Members Building Bonds or Building Resentments?


Cooperation among employees and collaboration between departments depends on everyone buying into group behavior norms. These norms are anchored by principles that build cooperation rather than internal competition between team members and departments.

When constructed properly, group norms improve the work environment and culture. They also drive both growth and improved revenue.

Studies have shown that organizations that build their teams on a strong set of collaborative principles and ethical values are the ones that succeed. This is true for both public and private organizations.

In today’s newsletter we are going to explore symptoms of team problems and how each of the TIGERS 6 Principles transform them.  Then in subsequent newsletters will be discussing each principle in greater depth. The 6 TIGERS principles are trust, interdependence, genuineness, empathy, risk and success.

1. Trust

If employee morale is interfering with getting the work done, it’s probably because of trust issues that have built into resentments.  This is a typical barrier to successful team building and a strong indication of the need for a team improvement initiative.

If you think trust has been breached in your organization, here is a short video that outlines steps for correcting trust in teams.

2. Interdependence

When internal competition exists between employees and departments, no one is working to benefit the organization.  Departments and employees are working to benefit themselves. This is a one-way street that is corrected by team interdependence.

We have had leaders ask us, “Why can’t our department leaders think about the company’s success instead of spending all their budgets when they don’t have to?” Then we have leaders ask us why their department managers don’t collaborate by sharing their budgets?  The answer is simple.  The culture supports not doing those things.

We break down the differences in detail between cooperative work cultures and ones that are internally competitive in the book, TIGERS Among Us and in our 6 Principles Self Study program for leaders.  To sum it up, if rewards and recognition are established to benefit internal competition, internal competition rather than cooperation is exactly what you will get.

How do you transform this?

Communicate a “we win” attitude in your corporate team building. Frequently remind team members how their work makes a difference to the overall mission and strategies of your company. Include this reminder in your corporate team building events — especially in new employee orientation.

Arrow through apple23. Genuineness

As a leader, you wonder why everyone agrees with you — all of the time — and it like pulling teeth to get truthful feedback.  Chances are you are lacking a system that effectively challenges ideas and problems in constructive ways.

Examples of constructive systems are those anchored in critical thinking designed to address both pros and cons.  One you are probably most familiar with is S.W.O.T where ideas are collectively assessed according to their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Leaders who respect genuineness also respect the opinions of team members even when they don’t agree.  They give employees an opportunity to share their thoughts openly, even their complaints and what they believe are good solutions.

In our first 2016 leadership training, we help participants understand their basic leadership style and how to build on their style to encourage maximum genuineness in co-worker relationships.

4. Empathy

When stiff competition among employees and between departments is the norm, empathy is often lacking. This is because if an employee or department is set on winning at all costs, having empathy for the “losers” isn’t a consideration.

Corporate team building that recognizes acts of compassion, friendship and cooperation often require that participants learn how to actively listen to understand the perspective of others.  When active listening becomes a norm, conflict is often resolved at the root cause.

In our second 2016 leadership training, we help participants identify their conflict style so they have the tools to moderate their own leadership behavior. Then we take it to the next level and discuss how to roll back conflict from the uncomfortable relationship level all the way back to procedural misunderstandings where over 80% of all conflict originates.

iStock_target manSmall[1]5. Risk

People who feel that they have a target on their back if they make a mistake suffer from risk avoidance.  When we discover that a department or company has a low risk score from their 360 Team Behavior Survey, we explore their decision making and problem solving system.

To be a good system it must be replicatable at all levels of operation.

When planning, encourage  team members to ask “why not?”. This approach can be effective in creative problem-solving. It also keeps dominant, shooting-from-the-hip members from steam rolling decisions that will cause problems latter. Ultimately, careful problem-solving, trial and error, and learning from past mistakes refines processes and procedures and minimizes risk.

6. Success

To be highly successful, organizations need commitment and accountability from everyone.  Committed and engaged employees possess team confidence. This is important to success.  Corporate teambuilding strategies that improve employee commitment build success.

From a TIGERS perspective, we look at success as accomplishing goals on time and under budget. This is balanced by the personal satisfaction employees feel in accomplishing their goals.

Cooperation among employees and collaboration between departments drives both growth and increased revenue for organizations.  There is less discontent, disengagement and turnover.  The good news is that the 6 Principles are measurable. This means that strategic team improvement goals can be established. Once achieved, the results can be tracked through the business financial statement as organizational cost savings or productivity improvements.

Copyright TIGERS Success Series, Inc. by Dianne Crampton

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