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31 May 2012 @ 09:55 pm
(Smells like) Team Spirit  
Lenders meeting today, the first three hours of which were dedicated to something which was simply marked as "Team Charter" on the agenda. Turns out that a number of people had responded in the negative to our last market pulse survey question which asked whether they felt they were part of a team, and today we were going to rectify that. As a result we spent those three hours thrashing out what a high-performing team looks like, and how it acts. This will be drawn up into a team charter that we all have to follow.

Trouble is, following a guideline for action won't make us a high-performing team, any more than spending eight hours a day in the pool will make me an Olympic swimmer. Team spirit is a spontaneous, organic thing and this process is artificial and forced. And you can tell me that team members trust each other and therefore we should all trust one another until you're blue in the face, but trust to me is something that is earned, not something that is granted.

And yet I feel more a part of this team than I have in my previous two teams, so obviously we're doing something right. I just don't believe there is a magic formula for these things.
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Newsy: mad as hellnewsy891 on May 31st, 2012 12:35 pm (UTC)
To come at this from the perspective of someone who no longer feels like "part of the team" at work... those who answered in the negative might have lost trust not in the people at the same level, but in the bosses and in the company. For example, I lost the "part of the team" feeling when my bosses gave me (and others) a deceptive job description, held me (and others) to expectations that were literally impossible to meet, and failed to protect me (and others) from preventable physical harm. I felt mistreated and neglected by the "captains" of the team, and therefore felt like I was no longer considered part of the team. And my bosses' solution to these problems? Blame me and my same-level coworkers for not being good team players, of course! It makes so much sense!

Might our bosses have never learned that a team must trust its captain/coach/management as well as each other if it's to function well? I wonder if your "team charter" will include any standards of behavior and trustworthiness for management.
miwahni: Firefly can't take the skymiwahni on June 2nd, 2012 04:21 am (UTC)
You're right, I believe, about the lack of team feeling being derived from the levels above (not the direct report but higher again) and it didn't help that the survey was conducted days after the announcement of redundancies earlier this year.
Sadly the team charter is focused on what we, as individual members of the team, can do. But it's all stuff we're doing already, like calling out good results, anniversaries etc.
I'd gathered that things weren't exactly rosy where you work, but what you've written is really dismaying. I hope things get better for you.
Strike while the irony is hot: [EMATE] CUPPA WATSONdraycevixen on May 31st, 2012 01:22 pm (UTC)

I loathe "team building activities" with a fiery passion. As you say trust is earned, not granted and usually you're being asked to rethink these things with people you've already worked long enough with to know if trust is there or not.

I love your Olympic swimmer example. :D
miwahni: pros cuppamiwahni on June 2nd, 2012 04:24 am (UTC)
Trust is something I struggle with at the best of times. As I wrote in my reply above to newsy891 the survey was conducted within days of redundancies being announced; I think the whole concept of "trust" was difficult for everyone at that time, but it was more a lack of trust of those higher up than us, than of each other.
entropy_houseentropy_house on May 31st, 2012 05:06 pm (UTC)
I think what that 'Team Charter' business has taught people is to respond to surveys by saying YES, TEAM, GREAT, WONDERFUL, EVERYTHING'S PEACHY, because being honest gets you punished.
miwahnimiwahni on June 2nd, 2012 04:28 am (UTC)
Heh. I'd rather sit in a room for three hours nutting out a team charter than lie and say everything's fine on the survey. It's anonymous, in that individual results can't be traced back to anyone, only to the group involved. And if you have everyone in the state saying that they wouldn't recommend our bank to friends and family as a place to work, then some changes will have to happen. Hopefully soon.