When You Join or Lead a Team

Published: August 23, 2018

“...Think hard – really hard – about what it means to join or lead a group of people.” When Seth Godin endorsed Team Clock in 2009, he urged readers to consider the accountability they own for being a part of a team, regardless of the role. By linking people together, everyone shares responsibility for the wellness and productivity of the group. What roles have you assumed?

Consider the typical roles vital to most teams. Each of us owns one or more of these responsibilities:

Modeling team norms: Day-to-day practice of the way we treat our teammates.

Crafting team values: A moral compass guides teammates toward the mission.

Arbitrating team conflict: Protect the fuel for future innovation.

Ensuring team respect: Promote the worth of every contribution.

Tracking team accountability: Strengthen trust and catch problems early.

Promoting team connection: Teammates rise and fall together.

Harnessing team differences: Leverage the power of diversity to make change.

Leading team risk-taking: Willingness to manage the dangers of being out in front.

Adapting to team failure: Teammates who stay calm under pressure help others adjust.

Embracing team change: Recognize that ends are new beginnings.

Whether seated at the leadership table or being oriented as the group’s newest employee, we each play a part in steering the team in a healthy direction. At any given moment in the team’s lifespan, we are either investing in our future, building trust, stretching capacity, or navigating change. Rather than letting your title or job description determine your daily activities, decide what role you have in elevating your team.

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 College 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.