I attended the ICOVA (Illinois Conference of Volunteer Administrators) event this past August, which was a very interesting day full of conversation about recruitment and retention of volunteers. By far my favorite part of the day was the keynote speech by Rev. Fred Nettles, which touched on team building for any organization.
Nettles, both a Reverend and secular non-profit administrator, was a great speaker (both content and charisma wise!) His talk covered a range of topics about volunteerism in general, but specifically delved into his thoughts on building an effective team in any organization.
Nettles shared his "Three C Rule for Building Teams" with the ICOVA attendees, detailing the importance of:
- Character: Compatibility of the organization's culture and mission with the potential team member's integrity.
- Competency: Positioning the team member for success and investing in good work through training and professional development.
- Charisma: Team members that get along!
Finding a group of people who can work together, feel inspired together and enjoy their time together is a pretty difficult task, but every organizational leader is asked to do it every day. While a lot of the time, a leader isn't given the option of building their own team -- they inherit people who may or may not fit into the leader's ideal organizational vision -- that doesn't mean managers and leaders can't build a team using Nettles' "Three C's."
If you can't change the team, it's important to clearly change the culture of the organization for your team. Create easily shared and spotted physical artifacts that represent the culture you want to create in your organization. If your company is all about integrity, share stories of employees who showed integrity via social media, intranets and blogs. Honor those people or highlight those actions you want others to imitate through specific and branded actions.
As for competency, make sure you know what people are best suited to do in your organization and help them grow and develop professionally when possible. Take stock of your needs and your assets!
Lastly, if your team doesn't get along try to understand why before you take any actions. If you have a real jerk in your organization, they may be enough of a Debbie Downer to prevent everyone else from feeling happy or successful. They may also be a key player in the organization that you don't want to let go. The trick here is making everyone feel heard and adjusting the team dynamics so the Debbie Downer isn't hurting the productivty and morale of everyone else on the team. You could do this by giving them a lateral promotion that moves them out of constant contact with the team or by asking them to adjust their behavior. Or you can do both or neither!
Above all, the Three C's are powerful because they give a leader a jumping off point. They aren't the end all and be all, but they are a simple and easy way to build your team, either through hiring people or through developing your most prized assets (your current employees!).