Building a team with character

Ask yourself the following question: Does my team have character?

Character is defined by the dictionary as one of three things;

  1. A distinguishing feature or attribute, as of an individual, group, or category
  2. Moral or ethical strength
  3. The public estimation of someone; reputation

Rather than separate out sections of character, we suggest combining the three definitions supplied above to provide a singular definition, which in turn, becomes a litmus test of our original question; does my team have character?

Character is when your team’s highest held values and beliefs are known by both yourself and the public as the same thing. 

Character is what your team becomes famous for. It precedes you before you walk into a room, and stays long after you have left. It takes time to build and takes an instant to destroy.

If you want to build a team with character, start with the following 3 points,

Establish the non-negotiables - your team need to know the areas that are the ‘no-go’ zones. The behaviours that will result in immediate action, whether it is a direct conversation or consequence. This should be only 3-7 things; the big battles, if you will. Many average organisations shy away from this type of direct conversation; the awesome organisations have them regularly. 

Build foundations not barriers - let people know the areas where they can explore their strengths and talents. At Pragmatic Thinking, we have ’10 things to make us fall in love with you’. It is a list for our employees to generate ideas off and to use their time to try and achieve and extend through their own innovation. The idea of this list is to not be too prescriptive because you will curtail free-thinking and innovation.

Truth trumps emotion - workplaces are hotbeds of emotional content; after all they are filled with human beings! Truth can be easily exchanged or dismissed in the middle of emotional turmoil, and not only in the bad times. Time and again successful organisations are bought to their knees by the instant gratification of bonuses and rewards rather than a truthful focus on what really matters for success.

So start by using these three points as a simple diagnostic. Do your team members know the non-negotiables? Have you built a framework for excellence? Does your focus for success remain unwavering in the face of emotion and instant gratification?

If you answered yes to these three questions, then it is highly likely you have a team with great character.