There are many articles that talk about the importance of having successful teams as they help organizations to achieve their goals. It is complicated to define a common strategy around a team’s success. Teams are built by professionals with different experiences, approaches and interests.
There is one thing that makes all teams vulnerable: the lack of clarity about their mission. A team without a mission can achieve short terms goals; a short-term goal is a transactional objective and it is usually self-driven. If you want your strategy to be accomplished, you need to be very clear on the mission.
Don’t you agree?
You work with colleagues who have different soft and technical skills than yours. Is it not the case? Think about the person who sits close to you. He or she could be better than you in running presentations, analysing data or in collaborating with other teams. The differences between professionals are the beauty and the secret of successful organisations. Many studies have proven that diverse teams work and perform much better than teams that are not diverse.
Do you work in a diverse team? No? Well, you should think whether your team it is the right one for you. You are also different from your manager. The backgrounds, the experiences, the skills and the competencies are (and should) not be the same.
What should you do if you do something better than your manager?
Simple. Keep working at your best even if you are showing better skills/experiences than your manager. Do not be afraid of being better. Your manager should sponsor, support and present you as a subject matter expert within the organisation. This is what happens in healthy and positive organisational cultures.
Is it not your case? It’s time to change team then.
When we are in safe environments, for example with family and friends, we share our opinions without thinking too much about the consequences. This behaviour is a habit and our habits are difficult to be changed. Why should we change this habit? We are not always in safe environments.
I often say that transparency is great for the organisational culture. I’m not changing opinion on this; however, you need to be sure that you are using the right way to tackle an issue. You should not cover the truth. You just need to be careful about how you say things.
How to train yourself in changing this habit? You need to try with an exercise. A simple one? Count to 3 and then say what you think. The new habit will take time but it will surely help you to improve your approach and it will make you more comfortable in tackling issues, even difficult ones.
The organisational culture creates unique workplaces. Why? Companies are built by individuals. For example, two companies of the same sector and with the same organisational structure are different due to the social component.
When you think about your career, it’s important to understand to which kind of organisational culture you belong to. Not all organisations are the right fit for you and you are the right fit for them… yes, even if the role your applying for matches your experiences. You have to think about the type of supervision you want (autonomy in the role vs close collaboration with your manager), the visibility (work in a client role facing or not) and the collaboration required in the team. It is important also to say that these aspects (autonomy, visibility, and collaboration) vary during your career. You need to evaluate these aspects in the specific period of time and in relation to your career development goals and ambition.
Finally, remember that the cultural context in your organisation changes over time. It changes and evolves as you do.
Working in a positive environment is fundamental. In order to enjoy your day, you need to feel comfortable and having positive relationships. The culture that surrounds you is important as the content of your job is.
I often say that eight hours of work are always eight hours of work; however, the perception of these 8 hours is different when you feel comfortable with yourself and with your colleagues.
You have surely heard that you need to have friends at work. Are we sure? As mentioned before, it’s crucial to be in a positive workplace to live it at its best; however, if you do not want to make new friends at work, you do not need to. Forcing yourself means modifying your behaviour and work attitude. The important thing is having positive work relationships. Having friends at work does not have to be a cultural norm (or a best practice) in your organisation. On the other hand, you’d need to have sponsors and allies.
What is one of the most important value which create a positive organisational culture? Transparency. Having clarity about the organisational structure, the work streams, the career plans and the recruiting processes is fundamental. Considering that organisations are open systems built by their employees, the transparency is the result of the human interactions and the processes’ implementation.
You can create social links with your team members, external stakeholders, colleagues of other departments and your manager. Let’s talk about the importance of the relationship with your manager. We always expect a full transparency from our managers. We expect transparency; however, are we always direct with our managers? I do not think that it is always the case. If you do not have an open and direct relationship with your manager, I definitely advise having one. Why? It allows you to work with a greater confidence and it makes easier to discuss a mistake. Having an open dialogue enhances trust and empowerment for both sides. Creating this link allows you to manage and think about your career in a more responsible way.
We work in ecosystems where people and processes create unique and not replicable dynamics. The culture of an organisation is unique. In order to understand the work environment, you need to balance your efforts between different dimensions. These dimensions are technical (skills, tasks to be completed, your career progression), social (your team, the relationships with the business) and political ones (the relationship between teams, your manager). You need to find your balance while you manage your time. Your time is critical to complete your tasks and matching your job’s responsibilities: you need to invest time in thinking about your career and your competencies Time for yourself .
Your time is a dimension that you cannot completely manage. Why? Your time is managed and influenced by the business’ priorities, the demands of your manager, unexpected events and your team’s needs. Let’s say that in most cases you do not manage your time, you try to optimise it. You have to learn to respect the time that you have. It is fundamental to think about the quality of your work and the time that it is needed for your job.
One of the biggest organisational problem is that often there is a lack of respect of other people time. Are organisations ready to facilitate the balance between personal, team and process time management? I do not think so. How many times happens to you to work with a colleague who asks for a meeting that ends with a 5 minutes chat? Or, when a process could be optimised but due to the logic of “we have always done like this” you waste precious time? In how many meetings you sit that are actually the update of last meeting and work to program the next one? Our time is threatened by the lack initiative, autonomy and entrepreneurship of other people or the organisation setup.
When organisations and individuals will begin to be include as one of the main values the respect of the time, your organisation will mature.