Many organizations including private enterprises to the Military emphasize the importance of working together as a team. In fact, the US Army embeds this philosophy in to every soldier it trains
I am an American Soldier.
I am a warrior and a member of a team….The US Army’s Soldier’s Creed
But are the baseline values that team members should embrace to foster a culture of Innovation? I list a few examples that I have personally experienced and offer my insights that can improve the team’s morale and communication.
Support, not challenge each other
- Team members should be helping each other. Simply challenging team members every time undermines their efforts and can be demoralizing
Know that your team members are people, with emotions, aspirations and goals. If you treat them with respect and give them the benefit of doubt, they will return the courtesy and it leads to a positive learning environment.
Eg: Instead of saying
“You said that this would work, but it doesn’t..”
rephrase it as
“Looks like it doesn’t appear to work. Can we find out what’s going on and can I help? How can we do better?”
Aim for progress, not for unrealistic perfection
Just like most things in life are not black and white, but fall somewhere in between, most projects can never be perfect. There’s nothing wrong in aiming for perfection, but understand that progress made by your team members needs to be recognized, just as much as investing time in areas that do not appear to succeed. Improvements should be incremental made over multiple iterations
Incentivize communication about the bad and the ugly
If you always want your teams to bring good news to you and you never want to hear them complain about the bad and the ugly, by design your teams will hide all the bad and the ugly and become bearers of only good news. This hides potential problems that you need to know before those problems come back to bite you.