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Overcoming Barriers to Awesome Team Results

Posted 7 years ago

People bring a variety of different strengths, skills and personalities to the workplace. How well we use those diverse skills will determine a team’s collective success overcoming barriers — both common and uncommon. Diversity is a great thing since it brings different perspectives, drives production and promotes innovation. However, this can sometimes pose challenges for individuals as they interact. This week, Mark Snow shares some tips on how to avoid internal issues and bring awesome team results to your business.

Overcoming Barriers to Awesome Team Results

By Mark Snow

Teams & work groups are notorious breeding grounds for interpersonal strife. Left unchecked, more assertive personalities take over – and as a result more reserved members become disengaged, apathetically watching as the team results sputter, flutter, flail, and eventually fail. However, by taking the time to raise awareness of the potential types of team conflict each member can recognize trouble spots and management themselves appropriately. Communication is a dance between message senders and receivers, with both verbal and non-verbal information creating a flowing dance of thoughts, ideas, biases, and when we’re lucky – connection. Teams are comprised of people who oftentimes don’t come together by choice and can be left to determine their own roles. It’s easy to see why so many teams struggle with conflict and underachievement. However, if we understand the common communication and behavioral challenges teams face, we can take proactive measures to improve cohesion and performance. Let’s look at a few of the common barriers and how you can overcome them. First, a distinction. There are two types of barriers. Internal and External. In other words, those that exist within ourselves, and those that exist outside of ourselves – and our direct control. Internal Barriers: Preconceived Notions – In all walks of our lives we’re constantly being fed information from our own experiences. The more consistent our experience, the more fixed we become in our opinion. Until it feels like fact. Individual Differences – An expansion of that bias could include people who are different from us. That could show itself as ethnic or racial differences, or those who process and make decisions differently from ourselves. At times to such extremes that you couldn’t even fathom another person’s approach. Preoccupation – In a day and age of constant communication, not just in person but with electronics constantly involved, it can be too easy to miss important messages simply because our attention has been fractured. When we aren’t attending we’re passively mis-communicating, and we don’t know that’ve we’ve done so until it’s too late to correct. Correcting Internal Barriers: Simply put, we need to become aware of our predisposition to openness and attending. If we can commit to higher levels of willingness to be open to others, and we can raise our capability to “screen out” distracting thoughts and biases, we’re well on our way to more effective teamwork. External Barriers: Distance – Perhaps the fastest growing segment of documented team conflicts can be directly attributed to real estate. Our teams simply aren’t getting together person-to-person like they used to. Even when they share a location. The gap in communication in this case is literal. Noise & Distraction – The next time you are having a business conversation ask yourself if you are in the optimal setting. Are there noises from other employees or non-employees? Cars and equipment?  Visually distracting elements like traffic? The shop floor? Resources – It may sound simplistic, but some teams find themselves going off track because they lack the key resources. Time, money, technology, vehicles, or a share service like Human Resources or marketing. Teams are often asked to “get creative” or to “do more with less” without much more direction than those words. Accepting the expectation makes the group complicit, leading to frustration and missed deadlines. Correcting External Barriers: Luckily, once recognized, the external barriers can be remedied logically and fairly simply. The downside is that if you don’t recognize them quickly enough they transform into much trickier internal barriers. By carefully monitoring your team members and the organizational support given them, and promoting a sense of openness, understanding, and willingness to listen you’ll immediately reap the power of a fully engaged team effort – one whose cohesive outcomes will exponentially outweigh the sum of its parts.

Connect with Mark Snow

For over 15-years, Mark Snow has worked with hundreds of leading organizations on a variety of performance improvement initiatives specializing in the areas of leadership impact, strategic performance interventions, instructional design for classroom delivery, and defining success metrics to ensure alignment to business needs

Since partnering with Assessments 24×7 in 2017, Mark has collaborated with other team members to develop the organization’s popular DISC Workshop Leader Certification. This training program has been designed to teach consultants how to lead five different full and half day DISC-based workshops: Trust Based Leadership; Making Teams Work; Self Awareness & Communication Skills; Sales Optimization; Transitioning from Peer to Leader. The DISC Workshop Leader Certification training begins with Assessments 24×7’s popular DISC Practitioner Certification, which is internationally accredited for continuing education units with ICF, SHRM, HRCI and ATD.
Contact Mark Snow: [email protected] or 1-413-461-0078