10 Team Values for Teams with Purpose
Is there a better feeling than watching the people you mentor or support grow beyond themselves and achieve more than they could even believe?
This feeling is why I try to be a better manager/leader every day: Not only can you go further than being alone, but seeing talent develop has something magical about it (psst.. we’re hiring!).
I have been fortunate that the teams I’ve led always served a bigger purpose, whether this was a much-needed concert program on campus, or a new form of climate demonstration, or creating new concepts for sustainable behavior change. The best management philosophy for such driven teams I have found is to ‘hire exceptionally great people, and get all obstacles to great work out of the way’. But how do you align a team’s outputs without creating too many restrictions for its members?
My answer is to create and agree on positive values and principles as a sort of constitution, rather than negative restrictions of ‘don’ts’. The following set of values which have proven very useful in the teams my projects attract (and I like working with), and I hope they can be helpful to other leaders of teams:
- Great teams start with skilled people who trust each other to work toward a common purpose. This trust is the foundation of our team.
- Openness and honesty are two of our core values. We keep everything as transparent as possible and try to anticipate other people’s questions. We value a diversity of opinions and encourage team members to speak out, even if their idea is unpopular.
- We care for and support our team members. Reaching our common goals is more important than our individual goals.
- We are fully committed to our mission, our work, and our stakeholders, and we strive for excellence.
- We do things with joy. We celebrate our successes with each other.
- We take responsibility and are accountable for our actions.
- We are open about our mistakes, and we own them. Making mistakes shows that we are trying something new, repeating mistakes however shows a problem.
- We embrace technology and innovation, especially if it is to improve our services to our stakeholders or make our lives easier. We are open to new ways of doing things.
- We check our egos at the door. Experience is valued and respected, but ultimately good ideas win over hierarchy.
- To outside stakeholders we are always as professional as possible. Internally we are playful and creative. We don’t see this as a contradiction.
If these are helpful, feel free to use them yourself, consider this cc by-sa. If you have feedback (I’m 100% sure these are not perfect), or wish to share some values that have worked well for you, please leave a comment below. Looking forward to your input!