Creating Team Standards

iStock 000016993580XSmallA set of “Team Standards” can help a team become more committed, motivated, and collaborative. Team standards are not as much rules as they are standard operating procedures for work and interaction. Managers can help support a team’s success by facilitating a group discussion that identifies these standards.

One way to lead the discussion is to ask a general question to the group that will start the dialogue. The question may be something like, “What standards do we want to set for ourselves as a team to ensure we are collaborating effectively and reaching our goals?” This question will generate ideas and you’ll need to lead the team to create consensus for each. Some of the standards the team may create are listed below. You may need to ask follow-up questions to direct the team towards an area that may need to be addressed such as accountability, delivering results, handling conflict, or communication.

Popular Team Standards may include:

  • Trust each other
  • Communicate often with fellow team members on important projects
  • Show up to meetings on time
  • Focus on the meeting – Don’t use your laptop or phone
  • Give feedback or push-back respectfully
  • Deliver work on time
  • Speak up if you have a problem, don’t act passive-aggressively

Another way to set team standards is by using Patrick Lencioni’s  5 Dysfunctions of a Team model to guide the discussion. Lencioni’s model is based on five key areas of team behavior. You can introduce these 5 behavior areas and then ask the group, “What standards do we want to create for ourselves in each if these areas?

Lencioni’s 5 Team Behavior Areas:

  • Trust
  • Conflict
  • Commitment
  • Accountability
  • Results

Although not necessary, some teams like to post these in a meeting room or common area.

How have you created team standards for your team?