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Great Team Relationships are Real


Once you’ve been out in the real world of work for a while, you’re sure to have worked in a few teams of varying functionality. Some will be super-high performing, well-oiled teams, and others will be more like a dysfunctional family with members not seeing eye-to-eye and generally causing chaos wherever they’re involved in a project. Obviously it’s far nicer, and much more fulfilling, to work in the high-performing team but why are some teams better gelled and harmonious than others?

I’ve been working for a scary 27 years now and I’ve been a member of the whole gamut of team types. Working in a dysfunctional team is soul destroying, it eats away at your morale and self-confidence as well as effecting your performance as an individual. Those slick, high performing teams with top class output can seem to be the stuff of dreams, but they do exist, I’ve worked in a couple in my time.

I’d say the common themes across those teams were:

a) Managers/Leaders who displayed emotional intelligence (EI). The dictionary definition of EI is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

b) Those managers/leaders used their EI to recruit individuals into roles that they knew would gel with the other members of the team.

c) The managers/leaders encouraged and fostered real ‘team’ emotions.

In both of these teams we became a ‘work family’. We experienced life’s ups and downs together, sharing experiences and supporting each other through relationship break ups, marriages, births, house moves, ill health… you name it, we went through it and the best thing was that we went through it together. Like any family we had the naughty youngsters, the agony aunt (me!), the geeky one, the flighty one, and the matriarch – interestingly, both of these high-performing and great fun to work in teams were led by women.

Individually some of the team members could be frustrating, annoying in fact, but when put together as part of that particular team, they all thrived and consistently performed at a high level. We also weren’t just colleagues, we were good friends and even now, many years and jobs later, we’re still in touch with each other and love to meet up whenever we can. Despite several people now living all over the world.

According to Gallup, people who have a best friend at work are seven times more likely to be engaged in their jobs. It doesn't have to be a best friend either, they also found that people who had a good friend at work are more likely to be satisfied.

Us humans are naturally social creatures, we crave friendship and positive interactions. So it makes sense that the better our relationships are at work, the happier and more productive we're going to be. Good working relationships mean our work is more enjoyable and people are more likely to go along with change, we're also more innovative and creative when we have a good team.

There are several ingredients that make up good team relationships:

* Trust – you need to be able to trust one another, have each other’s backs.

* Mutual Respect – value your team’s input and ideas, and the will value yours.

* Communication – as with all relationships, the better and more effectively you communicate, the richer your relationships will be.

* Diversity – not just by having people from a range of backgrounds but accepting and welcoming diverse opinions and outlooks is a great building block for amazing teams.

And last, but by no means least,

* Fun – ‘work hard, play hard’ may be an overused term but it works. You don’t have to go out and get smashed every night after work, but make sure you have some fun as a team outside of work. It’s often where the strongest bonds are built.

If you’d like some help building your Real Team Relationships, exploring your team’s strengths, or to find out more about Emotional Intelligence, click on the links or get in touch.



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