Three Needs of a Team

Patrick Lencioni offered excellent advice for employers about the needs of their employees in his work Three Signs of a Miserable JobHe reminds leaders that anonymity, irrelevance, and immeasurement cause employees to feel miserable about their job.

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Leaders also should be mindful of the Three Needs of a Team.  A team is a group that has come together for a common goal.  I remember sitting in on a meeting where the leader reminded everyone in the room that they were a team rather than a  family because they were gathered together for a common purpose. This presence of a shared goal is what makes a group of people a team.

What are the three needs of a team?

Teams need a purpose

Kouzes and Posner (2012, p. 230) note that “for a team of people to have a positive experience together they must have shared goals that provide a specific reason for being together.” These shared goals form the basis for the why of the team.  Without a common purpose teams suffer misalignment of effort and eventually separate with members pursuing their own goals (or other teams with shared goals).  Purpose is what gets teams through the tough times (2012, p. 169). Every leader should be able to articulate their “why” and the team needs to know its own “why” as well.

Teams need pride

Pride can come from achieving measurable success. Feeling special or unique also can foster a sense of pride(Kouzes & Posner, 2012, p. 134).  Proud team members become enthusiastic supporters of the organization. Pride drives exceptional success, continued innovation, and fosters commitment (link). Leaders need to constantly find ways to make their employees feel special and to remind them about how important their work is for the success of the team. The team must be constantly reminded of the importance of their work (Kouzes & Posner, 2012, p. 133). Stacking small victories over time will engender pride in any team as it is hard to argue with success (Kouzes & Posner, 2012, p. 197).  Shared symbols, language, behaviors and artifacts can also boost pride.

Teams need praise

Leaders find ways to recognize contributions and celebrate victories. They write notes, celebrate birthdays, give public and private praise, and let people know how much they value them being on the team (Kouzes & Posner, 2012, p. 272).  Leaders have to share the successes of the team. Regular personal recognition is a source of energy for the team.  Team members are not likely to last long on the team if they are unsure of how their work matters or if they don’t know if they are making a difference (Kouzes & Posner, 2014, p. 275).

As a leader are you meeting the needs of your teams?

Kouzes, J. and Posner, B. (2012). The Leadership Challenge: How to make extraordinary things happen in an organization. San Francisco, CA: Wiley