A high performance team has a culture that meets the emotional and intellectual needs of all the team members. People are inspired to do their very best every day while caring deeply about the welfare of their colleagues. They also feel that their colleagues and the organization itself care about them. People know what to do, they are equipped to do it and they feel they have the power and support to move forward. So what does this culture look like in terms of measurable behaviours?
In How NASA Builds Teams, Charles J. Pellerin describes a number of team behaviours that he has determined are key to creating the type of culture where people can be most effective. (Pellerin has developed this into his 4-D Assessment Process.) The descriptions alone are very insightful.
A key behaviour relates to “Expressing Authentic Appreciation”. As Pellerin points out, this behaviour helps to address our emotional need of belonging, something that Abraham Maslow identified as fundamental to human motivation in his famous “hierarchy of needs”. When we feel we belong, we are happier and free to focus more fully on the tasks at hand. One of the important aspects of appreciation is that it must be felt and offered genuinely. Another is that we are appreciated for the things that we ourselves value. I will get less satisfaction from your appreciation of my coffee-making ability from your appreciation for my leadership ability. (Well that’s only partly true.) Also important to note, High performing teams exercise authentic appreciation for others, such as clients, partners and customers. They do this even in high-stress situations, framing negative events and perceptions in constructive, appreciative terms.
So, at this moment and on your team, to what extent do people feel appreciated for the contributions that they feel are important? To what extent do they express the positive aspects of a situation or relationship?