How To Make Team Engagement More Likely


In his book, 4D Leadership. Dr. Alan Watkins, recommends that leaders create these seven conditions to help make team engagement more likely:

  1. Create interdependency - Ideally seek to make each team member's success dependent on another team member's to foster collaboration across functions.
  2. Identify a common purpose - Ideally seek to unite the team behind a common objective. This could be the team's vision, purpose, ambition or strategy. 
  3. Define authority - Teams function better when they enjoy a degree of autonomy and have the ability to determine their own destiny within defined limits of authority.
  4. Manage team size - Ideally seek to create smaller teams to minimize complexity and politics. The optimum size depends on the team's purpose, longevity and capabilities. 
  5. Foster a commitment to development - Team building initiatives can be met with justifiable scepticism; however it is important to foster a shared commitment to improving the team effectiveness and enhancing the team spirit, dynamics and interpersonal relationships of the group.
  6. Engage leadership - The single biggest determinant to team success is the leader's commitment to the team and the development of the team journey. If the leader is not on board it really doesn't matter how enthusiastic the rest of the team is, the team will not really develop.
  7. One boat - Foster a sense that we are "all in this together" - One Team, One Boat. Using rowing as a metaphor, the rhythm, pace and direction for the boat should be set by the CEO or team leader but everyone has their role to play and no one is more significant than anyone else. In fact, if someone tries to "be a hero" they usually slow the team down. Leaders keen to exercise their own power or authority are often the primary reason teams don't develop.
Dr. Alan Watkins

Watkins is founder and CEO of Complete Coherence, a consultancy that brings the latest approaches from neuroscience, physiology and systems theory to the human performance challenges faced by business leaders.

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