And then the Don’t’s:
1. Don’t work in ‘yet another team’ unless you absolutely have to: Research has shown that everyone in a team is at least 25% less productive than working by themselves, through communication losses, social loafing, and other challenges. So, if you do not need a team, or do not need to meet, then don’t.
2. If you work in a team, do not let the leader speak. If the leader speaks it will be mostly to share what she or he already knows – and most of it the rest of the team will know already too. We are biologically wired to be very attentive to our leaders. So, the best use of the team time is for the leader to listen, and to be swayed. Upwards communication is the sole added value of a team.
3. If you carry on working in the team, don’t use a facilitator or team builder. Again, they will only take up time, complicate the communication further, and some of them might even say what everyone already knows – just like the leader might. After all, facilitators and team builders are temporary leaders, without much need to listen. Engaging a Team Coach, whose aim it is to help the team reflect, learn and raise awareness of patterns and ultimately make herself redundant is a much better use of your limited time and resources.
4. If you are still working in your team and it is not going well, don’t worry and try to reflect. Reflection is the single known improver of teams. Reflection makes a team make better decisions (just like upwards communication) and it demonstrably makes the team more innovative, resilient and productive.