What is Organizational and Team Health
Often when people ask me what I do as a consultant, I tell them “I work in the area of organizational health…’. So they sort of look at me with this blank stare. Organizational health is a relatively new field, involved with enhancing the ability of teams to work together in organizational settings. Perhaps the greatest pioneer in this field is Patrick Lencioni, President of the Table Group, and the author of many best-selling business best sellers, perhaps principle among them being The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. I have the great privilege of having worked with The Table Group for ten years – and what a great learning experience that was! Pat is the REAL DEAL. He gets it when it comes to human nature.
So here is my shot at a comprehensive definition of organizational health. I hope it sounds like an organizational setting in which you may like to work!
Healthy organizations are characterized by cohesive and collaborative teams whose goals are aligned with overall organizational direction. These teams work together to foster transparency and trust. Teammates learn to complement each other through leveraging their individual and collective strengths, and working to mitigate their areas of weakness. Teammates are willing to challenge each other and to be challenged, in an effort to improve ideas and ultimately to improve the quality of decisions.
Heathy teams are comprised of teammates who feel valued and affirmed by their leadership. They understand how their work impacts the productivity of others in the organization, and how their work improves the lives of the end client. They are self-aware of their behaviors, and how those behaviors affect their teammates. They’re willing to focus on the big picture of the organization and are willing to align their behaviors with the values of the team and organization.
Healthy teams are led by authentic leaders who influence teammates through practices of developmental accountability, appropriate and targeted reward and recognition, professional development, and performance management. These authentic leaders are willing learners, and consistently drive to improve the culture of the organization. Leadership and teammates work to drive the principles of organizational and team health into the organization’s human and technical systems, creating a sustainable culture of continuous improvement.
In healthy organizations and teams, leadership consistently communicates the organization’s direction so that teammates fully understand and take ownership of that direction. In times of directional ambiguity due to significant environmental and market change, leaders still communicate honestly and work to help teammates be as effective as possible in the midst of trying conditions. Leaders embrace authenticity, integrity, and high ethical standards. They lead from a platform of moral authority, and consistently lead by example as they communicate effectively about values, purpose, vision, strategy, goals, etc.
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