The teams and leaders I speak with these days are exhausted, overwhelmed and anxious about what the future of work holds for them. As a result, leaders are thirsty for simple and practical strategies to help their teams build the resilience, cohesion and effectiveness needed to thrive through this pandemic and beyond.
So, with that in mind, I’ve created seven team questions designed to strengthen each of the factors most essential to high performance teamwork. These seven questions will help create the team dialogue, clarity, and action needed for your team to emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever.
You might work through these one per week, one per month or several at a team development session, depending on your team’s needs and time available.
1. To strengthen your team’s cohesion, ask:
What would you say are our top three priorities for achieving success?
2. To strengthen your team’s climate, ask:
What does our team need to do better to ensure that we have a supportive and collaborative culture?
3. To strengthen your team’s group work skills, ask:
How can we improve our team meetings so that we walk away knowing our time was well-spent?
4. To strengthen your team’s change compatibility, ask:
How can our team respond more productively to change, even when we may not agree with the change?
5. To strengthen your team’s innovative thinking, ask:
What are some things we can do to foster innovation and challenge each other to stretch our thinking?
6. To strengthen your team’s shared leadership, ask:
What steps can we take to improve how we make decisions together?
7. To strengthen your team members’ individual contribution ask:
In order to be an even better team, what do you believe each of us most needs to do more of or less of?”
Now, of course, asking the questions and then doing nothing to follow-up will not affect any change whatsoever. Asking the question and generating dialogue is an important first step, but the real change comes through action. Once your team has discussed a question, ask that they identify concrete actions that will move your team forward in the area being discussed. And finally, end each discussion with this one question, “how will we hold ourselves accountable to these actions?”.
Teamwork is more important today than ever before. A crisis like this pandemic can either break your team down and widen the cracks beneath their feet, or it can result in the emergence of true greatness. As a leader, being fanatically focused on building cohesion and clarifying expectations will help ensure the latter is true for your team.