“They’re a real team”… you hear it from time to time in the corridors of companies, at music or sports shows, in military or civil protection institutions, in hospitals. The ability of some high-performance teams to “be together” rather than “be together” is one of the main distinguishing factors of performance.
This stage of development involves much more than daily physical proximity… it requires the development of rituals, a depth of connections and a robust knowledge of each other’s strengths and vulnerabilities, all supported by an almost unshakeable trust between everyone.
If it was difficult enough in the normal context, the current scenario implies an even greater challenge for team leaders, given that the company continues to demand results… and employees aspire to development support. Are we close to something almost impossible to achieve, or could it be possible for the collective identity effect of these teams to endure?
We suggest you take inspiration from myths of the past. Think of the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. A legend of unity in differences, a quest to maintain harmony and mobilize as a group with the energy to change and reverse adverse realities.
For today’s teams to achieve real feats, they need to be frequently stimulated and strengthened, and even in this current pandemic context it is possible to do this effectively.
One of the dynamics that has the most power to maintain or create strong relationships is to make remote connections with the sole purpose of doing something together… but that has a fun component and that draws on the authenticity and creativity of the team members.
In addition, it’s important to understand that social distance is compatible with some face-to-face dynamics. It is possible, with certain precautions, to promote the presence of teams in the same space – imagine your team gathering around a large round table, holding a team meeting in the garb of medieval knights and knightesses that you have previously received at home? Not only is it feasible, it will be memorable.
Promoting coaching [autonomous or guided] between team members, codevelopment exercises or the acceleration of specific skills [e.g. communication] will also make a difference, especially if it is interesting to bet on some pairs or triples that need to strengthen their performance.
It’s important to emphasize that leaders must take advantage of the current constraints to encourage a focus on the essentials and transfer the lessons that this situation has brought to everyone, so that new routines are incorporated and relationships are deepened within teams.
More than ever, it’s important to find moments and solutions to connect teams. Companies with all their employees working remotely or with part of them on layoff must invest in keeping people connected, increasing levels of empathy and ensuring that being together and “being together” lasts.
Recovering companies will be difficult, but doing so without having a connection with people activated will be almost impossible. Whatever Holy Grail your organization is looking for, you already know that your knights will be the key to the quest’s success.
Article for INFORH, written by Luís Rosário Partner at Immersis.