I know what you’re thinking; the business world does not have enough acronyms. So allow me to propose one more for the lexicon. When you hear the word TEAM, it could easily stand for Tyranny, Entropy, Anarchy & Mass confusion. Lots of teams start out with best intentions, but end up devolving and dissolving into these non-productive states.
Let’s craft a new acronym for TEAM. How about Trust, Empathy, Attitude & Mission? Aspiring to the following principles helps make me a better team member, and may help you too.
Trust. This is built over time and must be earned, not demanded. Doing what you say you will do builds trust. Flaking out will destroy it. I’m still learning this lesson over and over again… under-promise and over-deliver.
Empathy. Tune in to your team members emotions, not just the job at hand. If someone seems anxious, aggravated or withdrawn, it pays to take a few moments to find out why. Maybe a private conversation will reveal a simple solution and keep them motivated toward helping the team.
Attitude. Keeping a positive attitude through obstacles and stress is easier said than done. But choosing to unravel under pressure will absolutely make things worse. Keep your cool and keep working toward solutions.
Mission. A clear mission is the key to staying on track. If you’re leading your team, this provides the lighthouse for the team to steer toward as storms of change swirl around them. Trying to accomplish too many missions at once is a recipe for a shipwreck.
You may be on a permanent team like a department within a large company; or a temporary team (task force, tiger team or special committees) which is not meant to last forever. Whatever the size or duration of the team, these are a few principles I’ve found that will hold a team together and produce outstanding results.
Hmmm… what acronym could we create for the word WORK?