Peer to Peer Magazine

September 2011

The quarterly publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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Page 8 of 107

BEST us effective in achieving our goals." As one who has had the privilege of observing great team leaders and leading great teams, I'd like to share some of what I've learned about building teams that take great pride in ownership. A • Communicate clearly the team's purpose, role, and context within the overall organization. This may seem obvious (at least until a newly hired helpdesk specialist asks you, "How do I become a partner in this firm?"), but it PRACTICES There Actually Is an "I" in Team Successful teams are built on a foundation of individual responsibility. Good leaders build great teams by modeling and instilling a sense of individual accountability to achieve common goals. s a team leader, you are acountable for setting the tone for effective teamwork. When you are successful, each team member will be able to say, "I am proud to be part of this team, and I'm confident that I'm doing my part to make "It is impossible for a team member to take responsibility for doing her part if she doesn't understand her role." is impossible for a team member to take responsibility for doing her part if she doesn't understand her role and its scope, and how her actions within that role contribute to the team and organization. One way we bring this message home for my firm's IT team is by inviting leaders of other departments to our monthly meetings to talk about what their people do and how IT can better help them. 10 Peer to Peer • Provide team members with the information necessary to be successful in fulfilling their purpose. As a team leader, you're the information hub. Be mindful of sharing the right information with the right team members before they need it, and lead your team to be accountable for sharing information among themselves. I've found regular stand- up meetings to be helpful. We set aside a few minutes each week for the team to meet. We ask each member to quickly report on top priorities for the coming week, and any areas in which assistance might be needed from teammates. As your team hits its groove, you'll find the members taking responsibility for communicating among themselves, which is a sure sign that you've built a strong team. • Make sure team members understand not only the "what" but also the "why." You will earn and demonstrate trust and respect by taking the time to explain the reasons for assignments, decisions and activities of the team. Imagine working on an assembly line repeatedly bolting two pieces of metal together, day after day, without having any idea what the finished product is. How much would you care about the quality of your work?

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