This excerpt comes directly from the newly released book “Inspiring Leadership for Uncertain Times” by Karlin Sloan.

When we think about practicing physical and mental discipline as a team, what does that mean? The first step is to make sure expectations are clear and that practices are outlined for everyone. I like to think about great sports teams and the expectations that a great coach sets for behavior and teamwork. 

Starting with some simple ground rules that are outlined at the beginning of every meeting can re-enforce behavioral expectations. Here are some great examples of team ground rules: 

  • Assume best intentions. Instead of judging, presume that all input is coming from an individual’s best intentions for the good of the team. When we assume the best, we are less defensive, protective, agitated, and we become more open to dialog and input from diverse stakeholders.
  • Straight talk. Say what you have to say upfront, not after the fact or behind the back! When teams agree to say what they need to say upfront, there’s less complaining, and gossip is not tolerated. If there are questions from the team, they are encouraged, not squelched.
  • One team, one dream. We offer each other help and ask for help to get the job done. We have each other’s backs and think “we,” versus just “me”.
  • Learn from mistakes. We remove blame from any scenario and learn from problems, challenges, and mistakes. This gives permission and structure to talk about any blocks to success, or mistakes that have been made, without creating negative emotions, blaming, or punishing behaviors.
  • Total responsibility. We are all responsible for team goals being met. This means we watch out for each other and help solve any problems together that might block us from reaching goals. Instead of watching out just for ourselves, we have total responsibility for our team.
  • Stay healthy. We are focused on our own wellbeing and that of others.