Scrum Master, Are You Working to Build a High-Performance Team?
Building a high-performance team is every leader's core responsibility. How do you ensure as a Scrum Master that you are taking care of every aspect to build such a team?
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As a Scrum Master, we are working to ensure we are part of a high-performance team.
To do that, we have to take care of many aspects of the team.
Are We Taking Care of the Team’s Skills?
As a Scrum Master, when we coach a team, we can fine-tune their skills. We can watch for the present state of these skills and we can highlight to the team members to enhance them on many distinct occasions.
These skills will facilitate the team to function better. There is an intrinsic drive to upgrade these skills, as these skills will make those individuals stronger individuals in the process.
The team will traverse through many challenging assignments, but these skills will polish through better teamwork.
The team members can measure at definite intervals how well they are performing against most of these skills.
They can determine actions to advance these skills.
Though it is not so easy to radically transform these skills in a short span of time, with devoted effort, we should seek to enhance them.
As a Scrum Master, Are We Taking Care of Our Own Leadership Traits?
As servant leaders, we have to inspect regularly if we are doing enough to become better leaders. Our actions build or break team performance. To create an awesome team, we have to plan our actions and course-correct wherever we find gaps.
Are you checking your weekly planning against all those points?
As a Scrum Master, how well we are sharing our feedback and encouraging team members to follow the same?
How Should We Communicate Feedback to an Employee?
Look at the brighter side of the individuals. It’s easy to convey improvement feedback when 70% of the communication starts with the finest things employees are doing. When communicating the feedback related to the employee performance improvement, better discuss the process to be improved. It is better not to criticize the individual.
Share the big picture before presenting any significant feedback. An employee should be able to connect with the improvement feedback and big picture. It is crucial that we articulate improve feedback to the employee so that they receive it in a constructive manner for their improvement.
Every piece of feedback is invariably attached to the context. It is advisable to focus on the context while talking about the improvement points. As body language also conveys the message, while giving improvement feedback it is significant to demonstrate the appropriate body language. Body language conveys genuine improvement of the employee always welcome. How we say it is more essential than what we say.
Improvement feedback communication should be always conveyed in such a way that is asking for employees to comment. For example, “This is what I feel, what do you recommend?”
Provide feedback from an unbiased person’s point of view. It is up to the individual if he/she is willing to enforce those changes or not. As the old saying goes, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”
Feedback preferably should be face-to-face and elaboration discussion is better. Feedback is not encouraged to be written in a document/mail transaction where the situation can not be explained in an appropriate manner.
As a Scrum Master, Are We Eliminating the Barrier?
As a coach, are we looking into all these situations which are causing challenges in better teamwork?
Teamwork is when team members are working together in smooth, seamless coordination.
What do we do when they are not working together? Some reasons for teamwork barriers are:
“Why” Is Missing
One of the crucial barriers that could be a reason for missing teamwork is that team members do not realize the main “why” — the purpose of their existence in the company. It’s hard to do your best work when you don’t realize why you’re doing what you are doing — even more so when that work requires working with others.
Dominating Team Members
There are some team members who are always dominating the conversation. It is desirable to contribute to the team meeting, but when some team members are always hijacking the meetings or discussions, it demotivates others to contribute. There should be a balance within the teams in conversation, or else, in the long run, those introverted individuals will not open up for any contributions.
Less Contribution From Team Members
When a few team members are taking most of the load, it demotivates a few. The workload has to be picked up by most of the team members. A team requires engaging each other for better contribution. There is an imbalance when a few team members do not contribute to work. The reason could be competency or willingness.
Team Conflict is Consistently Dominating
Within a team, when conflict among team members is significant, the work will get frightened. Sometimes team members will not able to engage properly, which is natural sometimes. There are many adversaries that may come out, but team members need to resolve those among themselves or the team lead can facilitate to resolve such disturbance.
Distance Between Team Members
When team members do not spend a decent amount of time together, distance increases, barriers increases. The team has to perform together for a long time so that they can accept each other better. Maybe frequent team activities, inside or outside of the work, will enhance team coherence and partnership. It minimizes many issues when such activities are going on at certain intervals.
Team members when thinking only about themselves or working by understanding only “parts” of the system but not the “Whole”, as a result of that most of the time, create barriers. Team members require to consider the big pictures and the impact of their judgment. Team members require to collaborate with each other to work out many issues spontaneously.
Most of the team members need to feel that others will be prepared to support them when the situation arrives. When a team has such understanding and assurance realized there will naturally trust appears. In absence of this, team members will break down and will not be prepared to succeed.
Competition Among Team Members
There is frequent competition among team members, which leads to a barrier to cooperate with each other. People will not aid each other to earn mileage. High-performance individuals sometimes do not recognize how to work as a team. Sometimes that should be fine, but when that competition is becoming too much and becomes dominating behaviors in a team, that causes trouble in teamwork.
Missing Acknowledgment or Appreciation for Satisfactory Work
Sometimes, team members are going beyond their defined boundary to accomplish certain work but there is no recognition. No one talked about their contribution. The extra push they brought in is like business as usual. Over a period of time, no one is bringing any extra thoughts or better innovation techniques. It breaks team dynamics or momentum. Team members know there is hardly any use. So it becomes team norms to not perform beyond.
Poor Communication Hampers Success
Ineffective communication is one of the biggest barriers to teamwork. Leaders, managers, and team members require to assure there is adequate discussion, debates, happening frequently to speak out everything. Over-communication is better than under communication. The relevant right degree of messages is critical or lifeline in teamwork. There should be a team agreement on how the team members would like to operate, in a dearth of that everything breaks down.
Unclear Goals Distorts Job Duties
There should clear goals and duties defined. These guidelines should also change when the context changes. When team members are perplexed about what to be done by whom, teamwork gets affected. Special focus is essential on this topic.
Lack of Managerial Involvement
When there is no intervention happening from management when matters are not going well among team members, the teamwork barrier will continually increase. Managers need to continually support team members to perform smoothly with each other. The conflict among team members, disagreement, alignment with the goal if such events increase teamwork will minimize.
When Egos Get in the Way
There are diverse types of personalities that work in a team. When the high ego personalities are higher and team members are not able to get along with each other, team works will diminish. There should be significant coaching needed when such ego-personality clashes happen and there are enough interventions happening to minimize damages.
How Do We Measure a High-Performance Team? How?
How do we start measuring the team performance “as-is” state before commencing the team coaching journey?
We require to start from somewhere which points out to us the numerous considerations which should start concentrating on during coaching to strengthen.
We may look into the below aspects highlighted here to strengthen. Do you recognize those?
On a 1-5 scale, 5 being the highest, ask how you rate yourself on the following questions?
- Team members are passionate and unguarded in their discussion of issues
- Team members call out one another’s deficiencies or unproductive behaviors
- Team members know what their peers are working on and how they contribute to the collective good of the team.
- Team members quickly and genuinely apologize to one another when they say or do something inappropriate or possibly damaging to the team,
- Team members willingly make sacrifices in their departments or areas of expertise for the good of the team.
- Team members openly admit their weaknesses and mistakes.
- Team meetings are compelling, not boring.
- Team members leave meetings confident that their peers are completely committed to the decisions that were agreed on, even if they were in initial disagreement.
- During team meetings, the most important—and difficult—issues are put on the table to be resolved.
- Team members are deeply concerned about the prospect of letting down their peers.
- Team members know about one another’s personal lives and are comfortable discussing them.
- Do team members end discussions with clear and specific resolutions and action plans.
- Do team members challenge one another about their plans and approaches.
- Team members are slow to seek credit for their own contributions, but quick to point out those of others.
- Team members are taking a stand whenever it is required.
- Team members are able to speak up when it is essential.
- Team members are able to say NO when it is essential.
- Team members do not hide any information and express what is relevant.
- Team members express if they do not like anything.
- Team members respect each other opinions.
- Team members are always contributed to their shared goal.
- Team members are measuring team performance and course correct.
- Team members are able to finish their own assignments.
- Team members are able to fix the issues if any surprise unplanned issues come up.
- Team members have established a set of ground rules and guidelines for team performance and behaviors.
- Team members express disagreements constructively.
- Team members follow through on decisions and action items.
- The team leader has a process for sharing information with all team members.
Once we take care of all the above aspects, a high-performance team will form after several months of hard work by all the team members.
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