Creating a high-performance team

Co-workers (your work teammates) are often the sweetest reward on any job! If you know your own strengths and weaknesses and respect those of your teammates, you increase the chances of your team's success. You celebrate moments of victory when:

* You hit the deadline.

* Bring in a new client.

* Your department reaches the end of the year under your expense budget.

* You have stronger than projected sales.

* Your section has the fewest "days-lost injuries."

* Your team appreciates its accomplishments and those accomplishments impact the team morale.

How do you achieve a high performance work team?

The first variable is trust. The best kind of support you can offer your colleagues is the surety that you will hold up your end of the project. The team that trusts each other often wins together, and competing organizations know this. Successful employers will plan activities that foster team-building. It's difficult to be at a team social gathering or on an after-work baseball team and have conflict the next day with the same person you just played ball with.

The second variable is acceptance. You accept your co-workers for who they are, not what you want them to be. Hopefully, they accept you in the same way knowing every human is a work in progress. Acceptance promotes a healthier work place for everyone.

The third variable is openness. Openness often means being vulnerable, which can be difficult for some people. But it can also mean you circumvent hidden agendas, suspicious behavior and fear of reprisal. It's almost impossible to be open without trust. If you are an open team member, then you can expect the reward of an honest and cohesive relationship. There is also an extra benefit of knowing that your co-workers will feel free to tell you their truth without fear of reprisal.

One of your team goals is to achieve professional satisfaction. You can get on with the business of doing the best job you can. If you have been effective at improving relationships with co-workers, you now have allies. Your work will seem richer and more rewarding when you have achieved an honest and open working relationship. It doesn't matter how different your team members are. What does matter is how accepting you are of their differences. We need each other's differences to achieve success. Compare your team to a jigsaw puzzle. It takes many different pieces to make the whole. That is, after all, what a high-performance work team is all about.

Jane Boucher is an author and professional speaker with offices in Reno. Reach her at 853-0226 or jane@janeboucher.com.

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