Defining Rules of Engagement and Behavioral Standards for Your Team

Many organizations have operational standards for producing and delivering their goods or services, but few establish behavioral standards to address the conduct within the team and between its members.

When a group of people decide they truly want to operate as a high performing team, it must set operating standards at degrees depending on what they want their performance to be.

The purpose of these standards is to create the framework ahead of time for how the team members will treat each other in good times and in times of challenge.

It is these standards that, if created and agreed upon by the team in advance, will hold a team together when the pressure rises, and challenges intensify. Defining the Rules of Engagement for Your Team

Unfortunately, many people do not know who is really on their team until they are under pressure and at the point when it is too late to negotiate.

Standards must be created by the team itself, and based upon the specific behavioral problems unique to that team.

Standards must also be policed by the team itself.  So, if a standard is breached, team members are obligated to “call it out.”  If this does not happen (in which case it rarely does) no one takes them seriously and within a short period of time it becomes worse than if there were no standards, because people sense the lack of commitment and give up.

Of course, there is a proper time, place and method to call someone out that does not humiliate the offending team member.

If managers and supervisors are solely responsible for creating and enforcing standards, there is no team.  They are a group of employees.  This structure is critical to instilling personal responsibility that is crucial to improving team performance. There is a big difference between “a team” and “group of employees”.

Dave Baker

Dave Baker is the founder and CEO at Palmetto Leadership Center in Anderson, SC. He has been helping manufacturing site leaders get results for more than 25 years to improve their organization's culture, performance, and workforce engagement to effectively execute their strategy. His experience spans a variety of manufacturing environments including the automotive, pharmaceutical, and wood products industries. He can be reached directly at (864) 902-4400 or ;

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