Top 10 Ways to Move a Team Forward

1. Create a Safe Space. Creativity, growth, innovation and self-expression are a few of the many qualities that emerge from a safe space. Teams are able to overcome great obstacles and enjoy stellar success when their actions are grounded and supported by the safe space the team has created. Respect for others is a cornerstone of a safe space ­ consider what other qualities constitute a safe space for your team.

2. Vision. Have clarity about who you are and what you're creating. Have the team be clear about functions and how you're going to work together. Let your actions emerge from this vision. Powerful teams that have clarity of vision often have unparalleled synergy and unexpected results!

3. Leadership. A leader brings out the best in others and inspires us to be our best. S/he is an adept listener and knows how to marry vision & action, structure and creativity. The most powerful teams allow each and every team member the opportunity to assume leadership. Leadership is a continuous learning journey; have your team support the development of all team members' leadership skills!

4. Establish common ground. Identify the common commitment, vision and motivation of team members. While the commitment, vision and motivation of team members may differ from person to person, it's important that team members understand where each person is coming from.

5. Operational Framework. Articulate the process by which the team will communicate and interact. Establish vehicles for communication and action. Create a structure that supports the team's development. What systems or frameworks can better support YOUR team's growth and development?

6. Give Yourself Time. Teams need time to become a cohesive unit. An effective team produces results not only based on its functional model, but also through the relationships that team members have with each other. Time allows for the development of communication styles and team trust.

7. Consensus through dialogue. Build consensus through discussion and dialogue. Allow for differences ­ in opinion, in style and in other ways too! Expand your vision by incorporating differences into the greater whole. Co-creation is about including different perspectives. Challenge yourself to always be open to looking at things from different perspectives. This will enlarge your vision AND results!

8. Know When to Take Action. There's a time and place for dialogue; there's a time and place for action. Know how to marry the two for maximum momentum!

9. Create Structure. Create a structure that allows for growth and multiple functions. Formulate the structures so anyone can fill each role; create templates and blueprints so others can seamlessly enter or leave the group. Having team members assume different roles and functions will help to develop ALL team members' leadership skills, resulting in a more powerful team!

10. Agreements. How will the team work together? Decide on roles; be clear about team functions and expectations of each other. Clarify how you'll work together and articulate what you want to create. Agreements are the sub-texts behind our actions; tactfully communicate the agreements you have with each other in order to build a team that provides respect, safety and challenge for it's team members. Honor the agreements you make with each other.

Jan Gordon, LCSW is an Executive and Personal Coach who finds great joy in helping her clients achieve outstanding results! Ms. Gordon provides coaching to individuals and teams who are dedicated to enhancing their personal power and sense of fulfilment. Her coaching embraces the concept that challenge provides opportunity. Visit her website at: Jan can reached at

Copyright © 2002 by Jan Gordon. All Rights Reserved. This content may be forwarded only in full, with copyright/bio/contact/creation information intact, without specific permission, when used only in a not-for-profit format. If any other use is desired, permission in writing from Jan Gordon is required.

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