To build a better team, cite what’s going right

Posted by on Mar 20, 2013

It’s the quickest and easiest way to improve your team.

At the end of a meeting, when the group is still together and you have everyone’s attention, cite one thing that went very well.

Take just 20 or so seconds for this. Be casual, but be specific. Here’s an example:

“It was great how everyone weighed in with their ideas. We made incredible progress in just an hour.”

Over the next few days, during a few of your conversations with team members, make the same observation. Phrase it a bit differently, but maintain the core message.

“That last meeting was our best in a long time. With all of us adding in ideas, we got more done in an hour than a lot of groups get done in a whole week.”

After you do this a few times, one or two people will be saying the same thing, guaranteed. And the words will become a new understanding shared by team members: When all of us participate, we get better results.

At the next team meeting, if the opportunity presents itself early in the session, convey the same message once more. “That last session was fantastic. No one held back, and that made a huge difference. Here’s a handout with all the ideas we generated.”

You can see what’s happening here. By reflecting back on one specific thing the group has done extremely well, the person is making it visible for all to see — and establishing it as a new team benchmark.

The reflection technique doesn’t require special skill. It doesn’t take a lot of time. And you don’t need high-level authority.

Anyone can do it — as long as they’re observant enough to see that one action, behavior, or quality that’s emerging as a team strength.

Every team has at least one. So stay alert, call it out, and make it your team’s new norm.


By Tom TerezContact