Still don’t think behavior matters?

The good, the bad, and the ugly

Imagine you are working in a small team with the end goal of creating a presentation for a potential client. Consider the following outcomes:

Good

Team Leadership, Communication, and Harmony

The team meets up, and one person emerges as a leader. The leader, although he has the final decision, is open and listens to everyone’s ideas while they all brainstorm together.

Once an idea has been orchestrated, the leader delegates tasks based on each individual team member’s strengths and preferences. He gives firm deadlines, answers all questions, keeps open lines of communication and checks in weekly with the team.

End result: Since each team member was aware of their responsibilities, accountabilities and authority parameters, they were able to create a strong, convincing, solid presentation. In the end, they gain a new client.

Bad

Groupthink

At the first team meeting, the team decides not to elect a leader because they simply couldn’t come to a consensus and nobody insisted. They went around telling each other which part of the presentation they were going to complete and what materials they were each going to cover in their section. The whole group got along very well, but nobody ended up taking notes about who was doing what. When they began to brainstorm, nobody wanted to reject anyone else’s ideas, so they just combined all of them. Nobody spoke up when ideas didn’t match up or when one suggestion negated another; instead, they just kept supporting each other and finding ways to incorporate each person’s suggestions into the final presentation.

End result: Since nobody recorded the responsibilities or organized the team’s ideas into a central focus, the presentation was very scattered, inconsistent, and not sufficiently informative. The team left out even some of the most basic information. Since every single idea was incorporated, the effect of groupthink turned a potentially wonderful presentation into an embarrassing disaster. The new client was not interested, and gave the team’s boss harsh feedback: “That meeting was a waste of my time.”

Ugly

Smothering, Micro-managing, Over-controlling Leader

When the team first meets, one person insists on being the leader, based on his long history of experience with group presentations for clients. The other team members go along with it, because they know they the proposed leader has been with the company for a longer period of time, and has participated in many group presentations in the past. A week goes by, and the leader sends the group members several e-mails a day, changing directions constantly and insisting that he knows best. Despite his overly-communicative e-mails, he neglects to respond to the ones he receives until days later.

They only meet biweekly, and when they do, the meeting turns into a lecture. The leader spends the whole time explaining exactly what must be done and who is to do it. At the end of each meeting, he looks at his watch and hurriedly rushes off to another meeting, saying “e-mail me with any questions.”

End result: The team delivers an informative presentation, but completely lacks energy during the final presentation. The slide show was boring because the leader did not allow any stylistic variation aside from black Times New Roman font, a minimal number of pictures, and the maximum amount of information possible in each slide. The group doesn’t get to finish the presentation because there was too much information, and the client began asking many questions, all of which were deferred to the employees who lost all enthusiasm and no longer cared to win over the client. Needless to say, the client refused their service and cut all lines of communication with the company.

Conclusion

It is clear to see that behavior is a huge factor while working in a team. Effective behavior is often the element that bright employees lack. Learning to control their behavior in a professional environment may be just what they need to set them apart from less talented employees who naturally have those behavioral skills