4 Signs Your Team Is Engaged (How To Increase Engagement)

There I was at work: a team member said something that sounded like fearful gossip about another team (examples are in headings below). While fear-mongering and gossip does occur in the workplace, there’s a skill in correctly managing these interactions. Sometimes, these are opportunities to discuss concerns that are or could be impacting project success. Team leadership improves and organizational risk falls as team leaders learn to hear team member concerns, and team members feel heard.

When we explore productive interactions around team member concerns:

  • We show that we take the concern seriously, and we strengthen relationships within the team.
  • We earn greater ownership and commitment from team members.
  • Team members begin to see their concerns as opportunities to improve risk and issue management, and they learn to escalate risks and issues more quickly.
  • Teams develop more of the skills of high performance teaming, and they address concerns when it matters most: early in the project life cycle.

4 Things Team Members Say That Show They’re Engaged And Committed (And How To Support Them)

I’m Afraid We May Not Be Able To Meet Requirements On Schedule

Work with the team to quickly check requirements, estimates, and schedule. Reach an understanding about whether their view is correct. In my experience, teams who voluntarily raise this concern are usually in good shape. Contrast this with teams who have been put in no-win situations. The same goes for teams in organizations where trust and teaming are low. In these situations, limited communications, secret-keeping, and passive-aggressive behavior are more likely.

Take appropriate mitigating action.

We’re Afraid It May Be Impossible To Do What We’ve Committed To Do

Like the above example, this is commonly a team that is uncertain about what else to do. With a little brainstorming and a few more days, I have never seen a team in this place fail. Of course, these were teams that had previously made the commitment about the scope of their work. Like the above example, if the team was handed this obligation and had no opportunity to take part in product definition and design early in the project, the communication pattern might be different, or nonexistent.

We Think Another Team May Not Know What They Need To Know, or

We Think Another Team May Not Be Doing What They Need To Be Doing

Early in my career, I took this as gossip or fear-mongering, and I took no action. This was a mistake. Now, I invite key members of each team to a quick chat to discuss overall progress, requirements, and design. In my experience, both teams are usually on track, and both teams learn something that enables them to improve performance. As an added bonus, the teams now have a shared conduit directly to one another, and they’ll usually collaborate going forward. Initially, I found it odd that teams sometimes need an introduction to one another in this format. This made more sense when I considered that many people appreciate an invitation. They don’t want to have to show up to an event or conversation cold and uninvited.

Consider And Act

Have you seen other communications that might be easy to dismiss, and are actually opportunities to strengthen relationships and collaboration across the team?

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Dylan Cornelius helps business people create laser-like focus on exactly what they want in their lives and businesses, re-invent themselves, their lifestyles, and their business systems to powerfully support getting those results, devise workable action plans to deliver the results, and master the skills necessary to build and sustain the results — all in 10 sessions over 4 months.

Our approach works because it enables anyone to quickly leverage fundamentals of sustainable change revealed in:
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– training in neuroscience and human development at UC Berkeley, management of innovation at Santa Clara University, and ontology and phenomenology at Landmark Worldwide.

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