We’ve talked often about individual engagement. But what about teams? That’s what this reader note is all about.
Hi Sharlyn. What are the most important questions a company should ask to know if the team is engaged? What are the tale-tell signs that company should look out for on disengagement?
I think this is a great question. So much of the work we do involves teams. Yes, individual work is necessary and important. But often big projects or cross-functional projects involve teams. However, before trying to understand the level of team engagement, I think there are some prerequisites that need to be examined:
Are the individual employees engaged? I’m struggling to think of a situation where an employee is not engaged with the company on an individual level but they’re engaged with the company as part of a team. I can think of plenty cases where an employee is happier working with a group, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re engaged.
Is the team leader engaged? In most cases, the team leader sets the tone for the group. If the team leader is disengaged, I believe that will have an impact on the group’s engagement level. It’s possible individual employees will be engaged with the company, but when asked to work with a disengaged leader, they could find themselves frustrated or apathetic.
Has the team been properly developed? High-performing teams have been given the tools and training to be successful. Is it possible to put a group of people in a room and get a result? Yes. But frankly, I think that’s the exception to the rule. High-performing teams have been given the benefit of training in the areas of conflict management, change management, decision making, problem solving, etc.
Does every member of the team understand their purpose? Not only does the team need the resources to work together, but so does each individual. It’s terrible to say but sometimes, in an effort to make everyone feel welcome, we put too many people on a team. Or the wrong people on the team. Individuals are confused about their role and how they make the best contribution.
I believe that team engagement (or disengagement) is the result of team dynamics. Organizations need to make sure that teams have a clear purpose, team members have defined roles, and the team has been given the tools for success. Better team engagement starts with better individual employee engagement.
Image taken by Sharlyn Lauby while attending the 2016 Great Place to Work Conference1