I got a fascinating note from an employee of a big company about the "team norms" that were articulated by his new boss. I think they are great, but have a crucial question about them. Here they are:
I. Show respect
Support one another...don't blind-side one another in public.
Provide one another with a safe place...honor confidentiality.
Show up to meetings on time...and if you're running late, call.
Maintain professionalism...especially with clients / learners.
II. Be transparent
No hidden agendas
Get to the point...don't beat around the bush.
III. Stay positive
Here is my question. Talk is not a substitute for action. Guidelines like these are great when they are drive and reflect behavior, but when they are consistently violated, they are worse than having no guidelines at all because the stench of hypocrisy fills the air. As such, what advice do you have for this boss to make sure that his team actually lives these norms?
My first thought was that he should focus on what happens when team members -- or himself -- violate the norms. After all, in any human group, people will break rules. In healthy groups, bosses call out others (and themselves) when transgressions occur, but do it in ways that builds rather than destroys safety and trust. It's noteasy to do, but I;'ve seen great bosses like IDEO's David Kelley do it in masterful ways.
That's my first thought. I would love to hear others.
P.S. A big thanks to the unnamed employee for sending these norms to me.