Dina Berta, freelance business writer and a former human resources editor for an industry trade publication, recently interviewed Joleen Goronkin, founder and president of People & Performance Strategies about team building in the workplace.

Joleen Goronkin was a featured contributor on how to Harness the President & CEO Power of Teamwork in the SpringIssue of Training Industry Magazine  People & Performance Strategies.

Dina: Why should leaders focus on team building?
Joleen: Team building allows people to get to know each other at a different level. If you know each other better, you can start communicating more effectively. When there is respect for one another and effective communication, teams will increase their performance.
Dina: How did you come to understand the significance of effective teams?
Joleen: I worked at a company at a time when the sales were plummeting, profits were down and morale was at an all-time low. The executive team was very diverse in terms of experience level and tenure. We had offsite meetings to create a meaningful vision, mission and values. In the process, a chemistry developed – we liked each other and had fun together. There was no power struggle, nor jealousy. We created a turn-around strategy, we bought into it completely and held each other accountable. We just got it done and supported each other. In a short time, sales were increasing, profits were up and employees in the Company were having fun.
Dina: Why do leaders struggle with creating effective teams?
Joleen: They don’t plan for it or work at it. You need to have a plan, a specific method to improve the relationships among co-workers and executives. It has to be cultivated and there needs to be a way to measure your progress.
Dina: Like evaluation tools such as the Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team, which you referenced in your recent article for Training Industry magazine?
Joleen: Exactly. Wiley Workplace Learning Solutions developed this program in conjunction with Patrick Lecioni, author of the best selling business fable, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. People & Performance Strategies is an authorized partner of the program.
Dina: What are the behaviors of good team?
Joleen: Building trust, healthy conflict, commitment, accountability and results. The program scores how well everyone on the team is doing in each of those areas and focuses on how to increase the scores in the future. Teams need to understand which behaviors are acceptable and which are not. Then hold each other accountable to those positive behaviors. It also helps individuals understand their own behavioral style and their team members styles, based on the DiSC® model: D: Dominance, i: Influence, S: Steadiness, and C: Conscientiousness, and how their style contributes to the team’s overall success.
Dina: How does knowing personality styles impact team behavior? What difference does it make?
Joleen: Knowing the styles of each of the team members creates better understanding of how they see the world. If you know the priorities, motivations and fears of others, it helps you communicate more effectively. Effective communication leads to building trust, the courage to engage in healthy conflict, the ability to stay committed, the desire to be accountable, and finally, the drive to achieve results.
Dina: What you experienced in the company you worked for?
Joleen: Right. And in the companies People & Performance Strategies has assisted. We’re able to help leaders create a comprehensive, cohesive plan to improve teamwork.
Dina: So, I took the DiSC assessment and determined I’m an S, steadiness, with a bit of a C, conscientiousness. But how does knowing that help me deal with team members who have, say a D or dominance behavioral style? How can we get along?
Joleen: I discuss this in the Training Industry article. Different personality styles put an emphasis on different things. A “dominance” style person is interested in results, the bottom line. You, as an S, are going to emphasize cooperation and the process. You don’t want to be rushed.
Dina: All very true. So, how do I keep Ms. D (dominance) from rushing me?
Joleen: Once you understand her style, you know to be very direct in speaking with her. Get to the point quickly and let her know when she can expect your final results.
Dina: So it’s possible for people with very different personality styles to find a way to work together?
Joleen: You’ve got it. Knowledge is everything. Remember, the great Stephen Covey always said, “Seek first to understand and then be understood.”

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