I wrote a blog post a few years ago on what I believe makes an inspirational person. Groups of people working together in concert can also make inspirational teams. A group I recently worked with- Let’s Recycle India – is working to be one of these groups. What is making their efforts inspirational?
1) Holistic, values oriented thinking: They are in waste management but they think beyond their particular business and field to the impacts on the environment and people.
2) Belief in team concept by all managers and ‘walking the talk’: To be an effective and indeed inspirational team, it can’t be something only a few managers believe in, or that is only talked about. As with an inspirational leader, it has to be modeled, and throughout the leadership. Then the rest of the team will know it is genuine, and effective team work will be modeled by leaders at all levels of the organization.
3) Focus on (two way) communication: People may not always agree with a leader/managers decisions, but if they are communicated and the rationales explained, they will usually accept them. And if they feel that they have been listened to, their commitment to the organization will be heightened.
4) Transparency and honesty: People generally appreciate the truth if it is shared in a respectful way (a skill in and of itself!). In the Let’s Recycle context, they try to follow this approach telling people “If we can’t do it, we will tell you”. An important aspect of this is a respect for all and a belief that everyone is entitled to your honesty.
5) Encourage new ideas & creativity: I think the fact that most of the Let’s Recycle management team has ‘other stamps in their passports’ (see 8 Ways to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing) helps them to ‘experiment with their experiences’ and encourage others to do the same. They find and bring ideas from other parts of the world and experiment with them in their own context.
This kind of team building takes a lot of time and effort but most organizations/companies will find that the effort is worth it in team commitment and productivity and what it takes to go from ‘good to great’ principles & book.
I believe that faces and non-verbal communication can tell you a lot. You can fake your agreement through words but most of us give ourselves away in our nonverbal communication. These smiles as we talked about the company and these women’s experiences told me a lot: