To develop a team that wins together, it has to be okay for everyone to talk openly about their strengths and development areas. Cultivating an environment of trust is essential if you want team members to be comfortable discussing both what they’re good and not good at.
To help my team get comfortable, I openly share my own development areas. Recently we had an all-day team meeting where everyone came prepared to participate in a “start/stop/keep” exercise. I went first: I asked my team members what they wanted me to start doing more of, what they’d like me to stop doing, and what they’d like me to keep doing. Others on the team then followed suit. We all shared our feedback with the group, but we did it in the spirit of helping each other be better.
All of this helps create trust, so when we come across that next major challenge and we’ve got a big problem to solve, we’ll discuss the problem as a team and be less likely to go on the individual defensive. All of this ultimately leads to a faster solution.
I was asked during a Forbes interview about what I would tell a high school student who wanted to be a CIO. I answered that while technical skills are table stakes, developing skills at bringing people together is critically important. Only then can your team have a real influence and drive positive change, helping the business leverage the power of technology. All of that takes trust and teamwork. Whether it’s swimming for trophies or building a world-class IT organization, putting the team first will always be a winning strategy.