Agreement. It’s a popular word when it comes to teamwork.
It’s not automatic.
- Are we pulling in the same direction?
- Do we collaborate, build consensus?
- Do we trust each other?
- Are our relationships healthy?
Most teams are accustomed to these types of questions. A vision, a purpose is shared and the team goes to work. What happens when the path toward success becomes a long and winding road? The buzz of creative tension can become distorted. That’s the test of a team.
In the heat of battle, team meetings can become fertile soil for misbehaving. Patience wanes, tempers flare, and success gets lost in the drama. When it gets heated, some team members get louder. Some shut down. Teams need to anticipate rough waters and prepare for challenges. They need to agree on the behaviors that will help them successfully navigate the tough stretches that all teams encounter. Healthy teams require healthy relationships. Healthy relationships require healthy behaviors.
The best teams have positive and constructive norms, and those norms regulate behavior.
Vanessa Druskat writes about the relationship between team norms and emotional intelligence. When teams develop norms for behavior, they set the stage for two powerful benefits. First, norms provide a great framework for developing emotional intelligence. When teams have candid discussions about behaviors and then move forward with a commitment to practice the best behaviors together, it transforms team interaction into a great venue for learning and growth. Second, Druskat notes that team norms predict performance. Practice paves the way toward increased efficiency, trust and productivity.