Leadership: Creating a Code of Conduct Will Help Focus Your Team

Have you ever been part of a group or team at work that had no focus or direction? Where people had their own agendas and ultimately the group failed? Starting your team off with a well-defined code of conduct can help minimize unsuccessful outcomes and improve results.

I have over twenty years of successful senior leadership and entrepreneurial experiences in health care. I have found that once a team is selected, disclosing and enforcing a team code of conduct can ease many uncertainties. It establishes an environment best suited for extraordinary results. I would suggest providing a written code for each member of the team to read and maintain, as well as covering and it at the team’s first meeting. The code of conduct can be a valuable teambuilding tool.

One of the first codes to disclose is to encourage every team member to keep an open mind throughout the process. It seems a simple enough criterion, but hearing and seeing it often relaxes members and allows for the free flow of ideas. This is the environment suited for successful teams.

Next, Inform the group that each member is to keep and maintain a positive attitude. Establishing that as a ground rule is often a good crutch to return to when the team confronts tough decisions and issues. A positive attitude will help create a dynamic and open dialogue.

Another valuable code is to create a blameless environment. The team needs to offer up ideas and suggestions without fear of retribution. Again, this allows for the best environment to create winning ideas.

Be sure to develop an environment where team members recognize that there is more than one avenue to reach a goal. Encouraging multiple alternatives often allows for further synergies and opportunities that than if the first idea was selected. Doing this will not stifle creativity when one idea is presented.

Another item on the code list should include a criterion about “appropriate” treatment of fellow team members. Lead by treating all present as you wish to be treated. This is an age old adage, but essential to positive group function.

Along the same lines, the next code item should foster an aura of inclusive respect for all members. Teams that share and feel appreciated often provide the best results. Respect allows all members to feel safe to take chances on ideas.

The next code is to create an equal democracy regarding votes and input. A team member gets one vote regardless of their position or rank. Every member now has equal say in what occurs.

Another code, seems obvious, but creates a team environment. Encouraging team thinking and action usually yields the best outcomes on projects. The sum of the group will far exceed the individual if this environment is fostered.

Every member of the team should understand that there are no dumb ideas or questions. Again this environment will lead to the offering and development of the best ideas and products. Even the most inane idea or suggestion may spark a winning idea from another member.

Another element of the code should be to have a bias for action. The team that believes it must get the best job done, usually does. Just do it.

A code of conduct to help control finances is essential as well. Be sure to place greater weight on ideas and creativity than on spending more money. Encourage the group to use the resources at hand rather than deploy more capital.

The team should never disband in quiet disagreement. It is fine to end a meeting with a topic or idea tabled because of lack of mutual support, but it is not okay to disband feeling bitter about an unresolved issue. This preserves the positive growth environment that will be created.

I like to end my code of conduct with the edict that all members have fun. Working on teams that are engaged on a task and in an environment that encourages play, makes the process all worthwhile. Focus on fun and amazing opportunities and ideas will present themselves.

Managing a group that shares focus and shares a common set of values is a good leadership tool for achieving the best outcomes. Fostering an environment built on respect, mission, values, and fun is one way to ensure successful outcome from your next team project. Start you next team off to success with a well-defined code of conduct.

Thanks for reading.

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