Here is an excerpt from an article written by Roger Schwarz for Harvard Business Review and the HBR Blog Network. To read the complete article, check out the wealth of free resources, obtain subscription information, and receive HBR email alerts, please click here.
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Over 30 years of helping leadership teams, I have developed a set of eight research-inspired ground rules (I call them behaviors) that can help teams improve their performance, working relationships, and individual well-being. (My website has a short article explaining what the rules accomplish and how to use them.)
o State views and ask genuine questions. This enables the team to shift from monologues and arguments to a conversation in which members can understand everyone’s point of view and be curious about the differences in their views.
o Share all relevant information. This enables the team to develop a comprehensive, common set of information with which to solve problems and make decisions.
o Use specific examples and agree on what important words mean. This ensures that all team members are using the same words to mean the same thing.
o Explain reasoning and intent. This enables members to understand how others reached their conclusions and see where team members’ reasoning differs.
o Focus on interests, not positions. By moving from arguing about solutions to identifying needs that must be met in order to solve a problem, you reduce unproductive conflict and increase your ability to develop solutions that the full team is committed to.
o Test assumptions and inferences. This ensures that the team is making decisions with valid information rather than with members’ private stories about what other team members believe and what their motives are.
o Jointly design next steps. This ensures that everyone is committed to moving forward together as a team.
o Discuss undiscussable issues. This ensures that the team addresses the important but undiscussed issues that are hindering its results and that can only be resolved in a team meeting.
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Here is a direct link to the complete article.
Roger Schwarz is an organizational psychologist, speaker, leadership team consultant, and president and CEO of Roger Schwarz & Associates. He is the author of Smart Leaders, Smarter Teams: How You and Your Team Get Unstuck to Get Results. For more, visit his website or find him on Twitter@LeadSmarter.