Teamwork makes the dream work. Nothing makes work more enjoyable than doing what you love with a group of people you like. But sometimes getting into a good rhythm can be a challenge. Whether you’re incorporating someone new to a team or building a cracker-jack lineup from scratch, figuring out team dynamics takes time and effort.
It’s often overlooked, but one of the best ways to get a team to work well together quickly is to dive into each individual’s values. It’s central to understanding the culture of your team, which in many ways is the foundation of teamwork.
Before you let your eyes glaze over a buzzword like culture, hear us out. A number of studies have shown the importance of company culture. As we define it, culture is simply the way we’ve agree to work with one another. It might seem simple, but it encompasses all aspects of working on a team. It encompasses daily activities, expectations, communication and work. And understanding the rules we’ve created for ourselves creates the sense of unity, cohesion, and meaning employees get at work.
Understanding not just your own personal values, but the values of both individual teammates and the group at large is an integral part of being successful at work. And it’s also a key aspect of your culture. When you understand what someone else’s values are, you can work with them in a way that helps you get the best out of them and visa-versa. By refocusing on what your collective values are, you can create a fun, functional team that works seamlessly.
Use Values as a Guide
Many people tend to be entrepreneurially minded when it comes to creating a team. They have an opportunity that needs to be filled, and they want it filled as quickly as possible. After all, finding the right kind of people takes time, energy, and eats away at your own productivity – right?
Yes and no. While finding the right people can be time consuming, correcting an error when you hire the wrong one can be just as bad if not worse. The best thing you can do when looking for talent to add to your team is to figure out what values matter to you, your team and your business – and work backward to hire from there.
As a quick refresher, core values are a collection of beliefs that influence the way we think and act. Most people have a combination of core values which interact with one another in different ways depending on their level of importance. The Schwartz Theory identifies the following ten core values:
- Self-Direction: correlates with independence, creativity and exploration.
- Stimulation: craving the new. Ties into excitement, novelty and challenges.
- Hedonism: things that correlate to pleasure or gratification for oneself.
- Achievement: success through showing your competence.
- Power: tied to social status, prestige and control.
- Security: relates to ideas of safety, harmony and stability.
- Conformity: restraining oneself and complying with societal norms.
- Tradition: breeds goals around respect, commitment and older ideas.
- Benevolence: making sure you take care for or are concerned for the welfare of those you know.
- Universalism: a deep desire to understand, protect and promote the welfare of all.
Most people have a mix of the above core values and are happiest when their values align with what they do daily. Which means when it comes to building out a team, you need to make sure you’re filling it with people whose values line up with their job and the group.
Arranging team and individual values requires having a vision for what you want your team’s core values to be. For instance, let’s say you’re a creative wanting to build out a marketing and content team for a cutting-edge new tech company. You’re hoping to fill out fifteen spots – that’s a lot of people – and you don’t have the time to individually manage everyone every day. Furthermore, what you do requires a quick turnaround.
Based on your needs, you probably don’t want to put together a team whose values center around conformity or tradition – especially if those values don’t align with what you do. Instead, create a team of individuals who are self-directed and stimulation driven. The type of people who enjoy diving in, figuring things out and tackling new things.
By understanding exactly what values your team needs to have, you can figure out what individual jobs need to require, and who best would meet those needs. That way, when you hire those people, you’ll go into it with an understanding of what values you want that person to embody.
Understanding How to Work Together
But what if you are already a team, not one starting from scratch. How do you figure out what everyone’s values are? And how do you make everyone’s work together? No matter how big or small your team, there are ways you can figure out values.
Know Your Own Values
The first place to start is by understanding your own values. Whether that means going through the seven circles, using the Schwartz Theory of values list or the Core Values Deck – figure them out. It’s hard to know what you expect or want from others until you know what you want yourself.
Know Their Values
Once you understand your values and the values you want your work to embody, figure out what your coworker’s values are. There are a couple ways to do that: observation, personality assessments, and general job fit exercises. But one of the best ways to find out is to take the time to ask. Have them write them out as part of a team building exercise, express them in their honest expectations, or simply convey them during a team meeting.
Connect the Dots
One of the best ways to get buy in from coworkers or teammates is to make sure that they feel engaged with the work they do. But only about 15 percent of global employees feel that level of engagement on a daily basis. One of the best ways to increase that engagement is to find ways to incorporate their values.
Create time for 411s and team meetings where core values for the team and individuals are discussed. Does one of your team members have values around family? Figure out ways they can maximize their schedule to get in some extra family time every week. Have an upcoming project that needs someone to manage it? Tap the shoulder of your coworker who is self-directed to help get the ball rolling. Have a team full of achievement driven folks? Create a yearly GPS for everything you want your team to achieve, and who will be responsible for each objective.
Leveraging your team based on what they value and love to do is one of the best ways to get top tier results. Not only will they be the right person for the job, but they’ll also appreciate the effort to tailor goals and objectives to their personal ideals.
What are some ways you like to share your values on a daily basis? Let us know on our Facebook page.