Team Behavior Checklist

Published: April 11, 2016

Many organizations are stratified in ways that makes teamwork difficult. Whether a silo or a hierarchy, collaboration has a secret set of rules when boundaries are in play. Whatever the structure, second-class citizens have a lesser voice at the team table. How might this play out in your workplace?

In healthcare settings, the division between “clinical” and “support” operations creates an obstacle to communication. Yet, treating patients effectively requires synchronized coordination between the high-priced surgeon in the ICU and the minimum-wage housekeeper making sure the treatment area is sterile between procedures. If these professionals don’t cooperate, bad clinical outcomes ensue.

In professional services organizations, “non-client-facing” teammates are valued differently than “client-facing” talent. The client-facers bring in the revenue and the non-client-facers take care of the vital operations that ensure services are delivered as promised. One does not work without the other. If having a different function means you are relegated a lesser role, customer service suffers.

A behavior checklist, when practiced consistently, promotes healthy teamwork:

Diversity: promote respect and nonjudgmental acceptance of the whole person.

Communication: practice transparency, clarity, and inclusiveness in sharing information.

Excellence: strive to improve quality, productivity, efficiency, innovation, and outcomes.

Partnership: collaborate to optimize discovery, creativity, and openness to new ideas.

Integrity: own accountability for all that we say and do.

Healthy organizations use values-based behavior checklists as a code-of-conduct. The expectation is woven into the fabric of the mission. It creates the foundation that supports engagement, trust, innovation, and effective management of change. Most importantly, it applies to everyone.

Photo of Steve Ritter, the co-founder of The Center for Team Excellence

Steve Ritter

Steve Ritter is an internationally recognized expert on team dynamics whose clients include Fortune 500 companies, professional sports teams, and many educational organizations. He is on the faculty of the Center for Professional Excellence at Elmhurst University where he earned the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Steve is the former Senior Vice President, Director of Human Resources at Leaders Bank, named the #1 Best Place to Work in Illinois in 2006 and winner of the American Psychological Association's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award in 2010. Steve provides ongoing workplace culture consultation to many thriving companies including Kraft Foods, Advocate Health Care, Kellogg's, the Chicago White Sox, AthletiCo, and Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.