Consider three “Whys” for taking professional ownership of team ideas:
- Why do individual team members feel so strongly about their ideas regarding an outcome or a goal to be accomplished?
- Why throw an idea out on the table if you are not willing to support it?
- Why introduce a provocative idea if your purpose only is to disrupt workflow rather than engage and collaborate?
Team outcomes target consensus-building or at least buy-in to support what is proposed. The objective of team dynamics is clarification of everyone’s position.
That model is the ideal. Then there is the reality of unremarkable or dysfunctional team dynamics. Have you ever been there? More than once?
Consider this scenario. Sound familiar?
It’s not much fun leading or participating in teams when:
- Way too many people are involved in decision making;
- Individuals dominate the conversation, regardless of the relevance or value of their expertise;
- Certain members always are AWOL; and
- Valuable members shrink into the background because they are frustrated or intimidated.
These status quo team dynamics play out on a daily basis throughout the workforce. They are productivity-drains.
Regardless of whether you are a team leader or a follower: create a team charter based on taking professional ownership of team ideas. Provide a pathway to team clarity and remarkable outcomes.
Something interesting happens when team members take professional ownership of their ideas.
- Introspective about the root causes of levels of commitment to an idea or a position.
- More or less committed to their own positions.
- Discerning as they prioritize ideas they remain most committed to supporting.
- Appreciative of the respective positions of other team members.
- Clearer about why and where they stand.
Taking professional ownership of your ideas allows you to explore the historical baggage in your work experience that colors your reactions to and interpretation of the data being presented. You conduct your own situational analysis of why you feel so strongly about a tactical approach to solve a problem or a strategy to lead an initiative or a timeline in which to accomplish team goals. You dissect why you enjoy collaborating with some team members and why there is no chemistry when working with others.
Now consider that everyone on your team brings their own biases and baggage to the table every time you work together. It’s just that many of these talented individuals do not take the time to fully explore how their “stuff” impacts their ability to participate productively with other team members. Give them permission to take that time.
Encourage team members to take professional ownership of their ideas. Give them permission, at least offline, to do some introspective digging. Often, sticking points preventing teams from reaching consensus – or at least supporting a decision – are rooted in:
- Confidence in competence: do team members lack confidence in their competence but are unwilling to ask for help?
- Semantic ambiguity: is the professional language of respective team members readily understood by other team members?
- Cultural differences (country of origin or professional discipline): do team members have an Us versus Them bias which creates a barrier to cross-functional collaboration?
- Straight up toxic stuff: are team dynamics negatively impacted because of historically bad karma between specific members?
When teams assume professional ownership of their respective ideas, an interesting outcome occurs. The team creates the team’s own ideas. They collectively take professional ownership of their team’s ideas.
Are you experiencing difficulty with a team you are a member of? Have you extracted a nugget or two out of this post which is helpful in getting your team unstuck? Click here. Let me know your thoughts.
Planning your next team, corporate or association meeting? Searching for a one-on-one catalyst to get you unstuck? Engage me to present a One Millimeter Mindset ™ program! Delivered virtually or in-person. Contact me here.
Babette Ten Haken | Change Catalyst | Purpose-Driven Professional Innovation | Cross-Functional Team Leadership | Trust-Based Client Retention | In Person & Virtual Speaker, Consultant, Coach, Author |
Babette Ten Haken is a refreshingly extroverted STEM professional and skeptical thinker focused on intentional innovation. She helps people, teams and organizations make hard calls when designing products, services, careers and cultures. These are not easy conversations to have. Her ability to translate cross-functional conversations between left-brain and right-brain thinkers provides different pathways for behavior, response, insight and collaboration. Think of the strategic business and human capital value of moving beyond avoidance or group-think, together. Instead, let your creativity, critical thinking, and leadership skills co-develop together, one millimeter at a time. Her playbook of cross-functional collaboration, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com. Contact Babette here. Image source: Getty images.