Why is it important to agree on team behaviours?

September 22, 2021

Employee sitting on the floor with laptop

Why does agreeing team behaviours or a team charter matter?

The way we behave as a team is usually governed by a set of unwritten rules and behaviours. Usually these aren’t conscious or decided upon, they develop and transform over time, for the good and bad.

Research shows that working as a team to formally define these behavioural norms can have positive benefits for the team.

  • A set of agreed behaviours can provide control and security within relationships.
  • They also have a positive influence on trust, accountability and responsibility. Having a shared, documented set of team behaviours makes it safe for anyone in the team to flag behaviour that is outside of these norms and, more importantly, ask why it’s happening.
  • If teams can establish a strong foundation of trust based on their norms, this is a fantastic basis for other positive outcomes like healthy conflict and increased psychological safety.
  • Particularly for virtual teams where it can take longer to establish trust, investing time on the foundations of good teamwork — goals, purpose and norms — can accelerate how quickly trust is built. And according to Fung (2014) when trust is high, project performance, team satisfaction, team effectiveness and team cohesion all improve.

Create your team behaviours in the Saberr platform

Documenting your team behaviours doesn’t mean that they need to become dry or formal, what’s most important is to ensure everyone has a say. These behavioural norms cannot be imposed or created top down by a leader. Leaders should be involved in the process to offer guidance, but the whole team must contribute and agree to what’s on the list.

Have some fun with the exercise, it’s always interesting to hear what your teammates think are good and bad behaviours. Remember you’re looking forward (not back) so don’t worry if something you’ve done is on the ‘bad’ list – it’s likely you’re not alone.

Defining team behaviours using Saberr Behaviours exercise makes it really clear how you should behave in order to work well together.

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