Team guidelines solve a lot of team problems before they even begin. Without clear team guidelines, teams often find themselves facing avoidable problems.

When everyone isn’t on the same page, it’s like trying to cook a dish with everyone adding random ingredients. The result? A mishmash that no one recognizes or enjoys.

Without clear guidelines, team members may feel uncertain about each other’s roles and contributions. It’s like playing a game where no one knows the rules, leading to doubts and suspicions about fairness.

When there’s no clear direction, efforts can get duplicated, or worse, important tasks might fall through the cracks. It’s like trying to row a boat where everyone has a different destination in mind.

Without guidelines, small disagreements can quickly escalate. A simple misunderstanding can snowball into a full-blown argument. Yes, all because there were no ground rules to guide the interaction.

By having a clear set of team guidelines, we can address these issues head-on. We can ensure smoother sailing, happier teammates, and more successful projects.

Follow team guidelines

What are Team Guidelines?

Team guidelines are like our team’s playbook. They’re simple rules we create together to help everyone know how to work well with each other. 

They’re not the big company rules, but our own set of tips and tricks that make our teamwork smooth.

Why Do We Need Team Guidelines?

Think of team guidelines as the secret sauce to a happy, efficient team! They help us understand each other better, avoid silly mistakes, and make sure everyone’s on the same page. When we all know what’s expected, we can work together better and have more fun doing it.

Of course, we know of many teams that do not have set guidelines. The manager expects everyone to know what they must do. But this assumption is often wrong.

Here are a few benefits of setting team guidelines.

It builds trust and transparency.

Think of it when you play a new game. If you know the rules, you can trust that everyone is playing fair, right? It’s the same with our team. When we have clear guidelines, everyone knows what’s fair, and trust grows!

Guidelines also help us be open about how we make decisions. Everyone can see how things work, and there are no secrets. It’s like opening the curtains and letting the sunshine in!

It clarifies expectations.

Imagine a soccer team where everyone runs after the ball, and no one guards the goal! It would be chaos. That’s why we need to know who does what in our team. Guidelines help with that.

Sometimes, small mix-ups can lead to bigger problems. Like two people doing the same job or no one doing it! Clear guidelines help us avoid these mix-ups and keep things smooth.

It strengthens team cohesion and identity.

Think of us as rowers in a boat. If we all row in the same direction, we go fast and straight. Team guidelines help us all row together, sharing the same vision.

Every team has its special spirit, like a unique badge. Guidelines help show off this badge, making us proud to be part of this awesome team.

It enhances efficiency and productivity.

Guidelines are like traffic rules for our work. They keep things moving smoothly and prevent jams.

Ever spent ages fixing a mix-up? With clear guidelines, we’ll have fewer mix-ups. This means we can spend more time doing what we’re good at and less time fixing things.

Read: Build Teams for Success

Steps to Set Team Guidelines

Now that we have defined and established the importance of team guidelines, I will tell you how to do it. After reading this, you have found the confidence to create one.

See this as a way to improve your team’s performance.

Follow these steps:

A. Engage the Team

Listen to everyone. A team is like a puzzle. Every piece is unique and important. When we’re setting guidelines, every voice needs to be heard. 

Why? Because when everyone shares their thoughts, we get a full picture of what our team needs.

Brainstorm together. Imagine we’re building a dream house. Everyone will have an idea: big windows, a cozy fireplace, maybe even a slide instead of stairs! 

Similarly, when we brainstorm about guidelines, we get a mix of awesome ideas to create our dream team environment. 

So, let’s gather the team members around, share our thoughts, and jot down the best bits!

B. Identify Key Team Values and Behaviors

Start with team values. Every team has things they hold dear – like trust, hard work, or creativity. These are our team values, our North Star guiding our way. 

Let’s talk and decide: What values are important to us? 

You will find that every team member has a unique set of personal values. But you need to agree on your team values. You will consider which values will help you enjoy working and achieving together,.

Match behaviors to values. Now, let’s think about how we can show these values in our everyday work. 

If trust is a value, maybe a behavior could be always keeping our promises. It’s like matching the right shoes to the right outfit!

Encourage everyone to share how they’ll act out these values.

Read: Vital Behaviors – Actions that Bring Extraordinary Results

C. Determine Behaviors to Avoid

Spotting the bumps on the road: Just like when driving, it’s good to know where the bumps are so we can avoid them. In the same way, let’s talk about behaviors that could slow us down or cause misunderstandings. You may consider the past behaviors that prevent the team from succeeding. But ensure that you will not focus on individuals. 

Turn don’ts into do’s. Instead of just listing what we shouldn’t do, let’s flip it! For every “don’t”, let’s find a positive “do”. So instead of “don’t be late”, maybe we can say “always be on time”. Positive vibes always work better! 

Add these to behaviors you have already identified.

D. Simplify and Categorize

Keep it simple. Remember, the best rules are the ones that are easy to remember and follow. After brainstorming, we might have a long list. 

Let’s simplify it. 

Think of it as trimming the branches of a tree to let it grow tall and strong.

Group ideas together: Once we’ve simplified, let’s group similar ideas together. Like putting socks in one drawer and shirts in another. 

This helps us see patterns and makes our guidelines neat and organized. Some people like to use acronyms. But don’t force it. What’s important is that everyone knows how to behave when working together.

E. Review and Revise Regularly

Keep growing. Our team, just like everything, will grow and change. And so should our guidelines. Think of them as a garden. Every once in a while, we need to check, prune, and maybe plant something new. 

Set a date: Just like we have check-ups at the doctor, let’s set regular dates to review our guidelines. This ensures they stay fresh and relevant, and helps us be our best team selves. In Toastmasters, we evaluate our meetings. We call this Moments of Truth. You may set time for team check-ups too.

F. Communicate and Implement

Spread the word. Once we’ve got our guidelines set, it’s like having a new song. We need to share it so everyone can dance to the same tune! 

Make sure every team member knows, understands, and can easily access our guidelines.

Walk the talk. Having guidelines is one thing, but living by them is what counts. Let’s lead by example and show how it’s done. 

Like a captain steering the ship, guiding the team in the direction set by the guidelines. People expect us to change at once, so must commit to change and do it.

G. Celebrate the Positive

Highlight the good. Every time someone does something that’s spot on with our guidelines, let’s give them a shout out! It’s like giving a gold star for good work. 

It motivates and encourages everyone to keep going in the right direction.

Keep encouraging members. Let’s keep the positive vibes flowing. Maybe have monthly gatherings or meetings where we celebrate our team’s achievements, big or small, in line with our guidelines. 

It’s like having a mini-party to remind us we’re on the right track! We celebrate what matters to us. 

H. Address Non-Compliance Constructively

Feedback, not fault-finding. Everyone can slip up now and then. If someone isn’t sticking to the guidelines, let’s talk to them kindly. 

Instead of pointing fingers, let’s try to understand why. Maybe they’re facing a challenge we don’t know about. By understanding the root cause, we can help them get back on track.

Offer a helping hand. If a team member is having a hard time with the guidelines, let’s offer support. Maybe a training session, a mentor, or even just a chat over coffee. 

By being there for them, we strengthen our team bond and move forward together.

Read: 10 Best Team Building Strategies

Let’s do it.

You can now start setting your team guidelines. If you find these tips useful, share them with team leaders. I would appreciate feedback from you too. When you need help in designing immersive team-building experiences, contact me. 

Remember the Magic of Guidelines

Just like a map helps travelers find their way, our team guidelines light up our path. They’re our secret recipe for a happy, efficient team. By knowing what to do (and what not to!), we make our teamwork sparkle.

Stay Ahead of the Game

imes change, and so do teams. Our guidelines aren’t set in stone. Just like a gardener tending to their plants, we should regularly check and refresh our guidelines. This keeps them alive, relevant, and in tune with our evolving team.

Let’s Get Moving

Whether we’re starting from scratch or just tweaking our existing guidelines, let’s make it a priority. Think of it as giving our team a super boost. 

We’re set to sail smoothly, work wonders, and celebrate our shared success!

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Build Teams

Build teams the right way. Help team leaders solve problems and create opportunities. Equip them with skills so they can make it easy for teams to win, win, and win.

Jef Menguin

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