Leveraging intelligence through teams
One of the attributes believed to set us humans apart as a distinct species, and indeed is thought to be fundamental to our success, is our ability to share learnings and perspectives with others and utilize the collective intelligence of many to solve problems, innovate, or move forward.
Are you making the most of this critical attribute in your business?
Sometimes, it might be tempting to believe that a particular employee ‘works best on his own’. I would argue that is not the best use of any one of your employees. If you want to attain the full benefit of that person’s perspective, intelligence, abilities, strengths and experience, you would be advised to find ways to include him within a team.
I frequently work with managers who want their employees to work more, or better, together (I am never asked to help employees to spend more time working on their own!) We all know instinctively at some level that a team of people can produce more and better outcomes than a sum of individual efforts. 1 + 1 + 1 really is greater than 3 when talking about work performance. Yet we struggle to set up a work environment that enables that, without being sucked into the black hole of managing interpersonal conflicts and issues for hours of our own time. I understand that the path of least resistance might seem to be to direct your employees to work on their own to avoid the interpersonal issues and challenges that come up.
As with all things, if you put the time and effort up front into the design, you reap the benefit of achieving the outcomes you want. Setting your teams up for success by creating some space and time for them to form, reform and optimize will serve you and your business well. Time that is well spent includes: setting up opportunities for them to learn and develop awareness of their own and others’ strengths and weaknesses, as well as how they will leverage individual strengths in their performance; enabling them to develop a collective vision and a set of commitments to one another, and; ensuring they establish processes for making decisions, communicating and handling conflicts.
Effective teams will end up taking less of your time, not more, if you make the time to set them up well.