Ways to Re-Align Your Team to Prevent Conflicts
Consistently when I’m working with teams, I discover that the team is out of alignment in at least one of these areas: Goals, Roles, and Methods. In fact, I’d go so far as to say, it’s rare a team is fully in alignment about the what, why, and how for any length of time.
Just like car tires need to be realigned regularly to ensure optimal performance, so do teams. Any number of changes can create misalignment. A common change in a team's experience is when team members join or leave a team.
When teams are not aligned on something, there will be frustration and conflict. Taking the time to align the team on goals, roles, and methods will pay off in dividends.
Let’s look at the three areas of alignment in the Better Teams Model:
1. Goals & Vision
Teams need to understand and align the team's vision, mission, and goals. They also need to understand how their individual goals connect to the team goals and how the team goals connect to the organization's goals.
2. Roles & Responsibilities
Everyone on the team needs to understand and agree on their own roles and responsibilities as well as have knowledge of the other team member’s roles. A common challenge is when team members think someone else is responsible for something or when team members are competing with each other because they both believe they are responsible for the same thing.
There are lots of tools and ways to help teams clarify the roles and responsibilities including the RACI Method, which is highly effective though it takes time to work through. A simpler activity to understand roles is here.
How the team works needs to be defined and agreed upon. Methods include how and when they will meet, how the team will communicate outside of meetings, “Ways of Working” or Team Norms, and any processes needed to perform the work.
Here is an excellent team activity to guide a team to develop their norms.
Aligning and re-aligning a team is a never-ending process. When you take time to align team regularly, it will be easier to prevent conflicts. Consider doing an alignment check quarterly, so your team can quickly make adjustments to ensure they are performing well and happy.
Listen to my podcast about Ways to Align Your Team - Goals, Roles & Methods.
About the Author: Leigh Ann Rodgers, Founder of Better Teams and the Forward, community, is an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator with 20 years of experience in the human development field. Leigh Ann is a skilled meeting facilitator, trainer, and coach working across the globe to help leaders cultivate teams that are happy and high-performing.
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