“Respect a man. He will do the more.” – James Howell
The second “R” in our ARROW equation for team alignment is “Respect.”
An aligned team has respect—lots of it, for lots of things. An aligned team respects members’ roles and responsibilities, confidences, and decision-making processes. The members of an aligned team don’t have to be the best of friends, but they do have to be supportive of each other within the context of the team and its mission: through actions as simple as showing up to meetings on time and prepared, meeting deadlines, and delivering what they promise to deliver.
The creation of a culture of respect within your team can happen in a variety of ways. It can start when you begin building your team, in choosing team members who are more likely to be part of a respectful dynamic. You can also, as the leader or a leader on the team, set a tone of respect through your own actions and behaviors. And you can create a respectful culture by consciously and openly making it a team norm, an expectation and an open topic for discussion.
A culture of respect also requires constant maintenance. Once you have a culture of respect, it’s not a box that you check and then permanently move on to something else. A culture of respect requires regular vigilance. New issues come up, new behaviors need to be examined, and perceptions of what is respectful and what is not change over time.
Without a culture of respect, you may still achieve a sense of alignment within your team. But that sense won’t be real, and it won’t last long.
At The Latimer Group, we believe that successful teams are built on honesty, open communication,and collaboration. For more on team building and team communication, look for Dean Brenner’s new book, Sharing the Sandbox: Building and Leading Great Teams in the 21st Century, coming in May 2012.