Team building philosophy

  • Published
  • By Maj. Samantha Haberlach
  • 97th Comptroller Squadron
Teams in every functional capacity have a common need to work together. But this is not as easy as it sounds. In the 97th Comptroller Squadron we have an amazing group of Airmen with differing motivators and unique characters. With such a diverse team they are able to produce great ideas and spot-on results. Our success is the direct result of utilizing their ideas. I am not all that special, but what I have done is surround myself with background and point of view from each member to make the team exceptional.

Our team is not much different than any other. Without a common goal, some basic rules and a vision, those varying personal motivators can lead to difficulties within a team. In our organization we have overcome many challenges, been able to work together, and thrive as a team with a focused vision that includes mutual respect.

Of course the mission comes first and is the reason the team is together. The team lead will direct the tasks and solidify that mission. Just as important, is a clear vision to help the team come together, utilizing each person's strengths.

When the vision of mutual respect is understood and agreed upon by the team members, they are making a pact. However, showing respect will undoubtedly look different to different people. There are some common concepts that tend to ring true no matter our background or motivation.

The first is to promote consensus in the team. A leader can help any task along in the initial stages by promoting consensus. Team members should offer up their unique ideas, opinions and disagreements in a professional manner. We all must keep an open mind and respect other's opinions, otherwise valuable team members may become discouraged. Throughout the process it is important to remind everyone of the higher level wing priorities so the entire team is aware, especially when the higher priorities do not match the direction the team is headed. Finally, ensure the team members understand that once a decision is made we must agree to the common plan or goal.

After the plan is in place team members can continue to improve their team and show respect by doing more than their share, asking other team members what they can do to help. Sharing the workload is a great way to show respect for your teammates. Also, everyone must give attention to detail. Remember that if you are going to do it, do it right the first time. Finally, taking the time to take care of a customer issue, project, or task as well as it can be before passing it along is vital and shows respect.

A final ingredient to a vision of mutual respect is to continuously encourage one another. By definition, to encourage is to give someone hope, confidence or courage. Team members can do this by supporting, listening and trusting each other. The leader can encourage the team by empowering, delegating, respecting and trusting subordinates. The old saying will always be true, treat others as you would want to be treated. Pass the guidance and tools, then back away and let them shine.