As a team begins to work together, they will often learn to establish an informal set of rules to govern the way they work. Since they are established informally as part of the learning process, one has to ask the question, ‘Are the right things getting done, and what isn’t? We’re all familiar with rules covering things like punctuality, timely issuing of minutes, and so on.   Yet, on occasions some people lack the sensitivity or social skills to conform to the ‘informal rules.’ They may behave in a way that may damages the team’s delivery, or worse, reputation, to your paranormal client. This can undermine the cohesiveness of your team, or make other team members unhappy. If unchecked, they may begin to challenge the status quo (albeit sometimes correctly) in a way that the team, and all its members, won’t like.   Therefore to prevent future conflict, a useful way of resolving the situation before they get started is by your team members formalizing, not only the unspoken rules, but determine what business rules (way-of-working) will also need to be in place. By making them clear and explicit as a group, then agreeing on them through fair debate, the value of the rules can be established and non-compliance can be demonstrated.   By involving the whole team, the process of negotiation will become an integral part of of how your team is ultimately formed. The reason you want the team to create and negotiate the rules, is that people with over-stringent standards are brought down to earth, while people whose standards are way too lax have the reasons for having higher standards explained to them. The team’s lead or founder will need to facilitate the process, and even though may not have a lot skill at it, they can learn as they gain experience. Eventually it will become an art taught by experience that will some day provide a forum for the team to effectively debate future strategies for your group, when investigating and researching more complex paranormal events.   Once negotiations have been completed and the rules written to paper, they’ll need to voted on by your team members. after being agreed on by team members. These rules will now act as the benchmark against which behavior can be measured, and judged. Democratic (not necessarily unanimous) agreement is required for the rules to be valid, and every member must sign-on as accepting them collectively.   The process of negotiating the set of rules means that they are likely to be rationally considered. The formality of the documentation of the rules means that there is no scope for people to misunderstand what is expected of them. The an agreement of the majority of team members gives the rules a democratic legitimacy.   Ultimately, when an individual consistently ignores or violates these rules, one way forward may be for the individual to be asked to leave the team. This can be tough, but dependent on the violation, in some cases its necessary. Establishing a Code of Conduct The Paranormal Establishing a Code of Conduct for Your Paranormal Team Define a the Limits for the Team Not to worry. In the Shadows Paranormal Project will be sharing with you ALL our project’s documents. Including: Guidelines, Rules, Charter, Waivers, Legal Forms, and much, much more in the pages that follow, for you to adopt or modify to fit your ‘Paranormal Team’s’ needs or requirements. If you are starting from scratch, begin with what your team members’ value. What is important to them in regards to acceptable team behavior? Your best bet is to brainstorm a list, and then talk through each item to ensure each team member has a clear understanding and can abide by that behavioral norm. When you finalize the first draft after having negotiated the list, get a final confirmation from each member by having them raise their hand to physically acknowledge they agree to abide by the group behaviors they have detailed. Here are some ideas to get you started: 1. Start the meeting on time! 2. Have a prepared agenda with an objective and expected outcomes. 3. End the meeting on time! 4. Park discussion items that don’t relate to this meeting’s objective on a to-do list for another meeting. 5. Complete all action items on the list when committed. 6. ONLY one person speaks at a time. 7. No one has a STUPID idea to voice. 8. All team members are equals, including any defined leads or founders for this purpose. Leave rank at the door. 9. Address conflict by dealing with the issue –not the person. 10. Turn of ALL cell phones / pagers for the duration of the meeting. 11. Notify the team in advance if they will be absent. By default, without their presence they will not have any input when the list if finalized. 12. Listen actively, and ask questions for clarification. 13. Be a participant, not a lurker. 14. What’s said in the room, stays in the room! 15. Have fun, but not at the expense of someone else’s feelings. 16. Be present, both physically and mentally. Pointers and Tips Before You Begin The first rule of team building is an obvious one: to lead a team effectively, you must first establish your leadership with each team member. Remember that the most effective team leaders build their relationships of trust and loyalty, rather than fear or the power of their positions. Consider each team member's ideas as valuable. Remember that there is no such thing as a stupid idea. Be aware of each team member's unspoken feelings. Set an example to team members by being open with each team member and sensitive to their moods and feelings. Act as a harmonizing influence. Look for chances to mediate and resolve minor disputes; point continually toward the team's higher goals. Be clear when communicating. Be careful to clarify the team objectives. Encourage trust and cooperation among each team member on your team. Remember that the relationships team members establish among themselves are every bit as important as those you establish with them. As the team begins to take shape, pay close attention to the ways in which team members work together and take steps to improve communication, cooperation, trust, and respect in those relationships. Encourage team members to share information. Emphasize the importance of each team member's contribution and demonstrate how all of their team tasks operate together to move the entire team closer to its goal. Delegate problem-solving tasks to the team. Let the team work on creative solutions together. Facilitate communication. Remember that communication is the single most important factor in successful teamwork. Facilitating communication does not mean holding meetings all the time. Instead it means setting an example by remaining open to suggestions and concerns, by asking questions and offering help, and by doing everything you can to avoid confusion. Establish team values and goals; evaluate team performance. Be sure to talk with members about the progress they are making toward established goals so that they get a sense both of their success and of the challenges that lie ahead. Address teamwork in performance standards as we, never I! Pointers and Tips Before You Begin Pointers and Tips Before You Begin What do we really care about in performing our part? What does the word success mean to this team? What actions can we take to live up to our stated values? Make sure that you have a clear idea of what you need to accomplish; that you know what your standards for success are going to be; that you have established clear time frames; and that each team member understands their role and responsibility to the team. Use consensus. Set objectives, solve problems, and plan for action. While it takes much longer to establish consensus, this method ultimately provides better decisions and greater productivity in creating rules, because it secures every member’s commitment to all phases of the client caseloads and team duties. Set ground rules for the team. These are the norms that you and the team need to establish to ensure efficiency and success. They can be simple directives (Team members are to be punctual for meetings) or general guidelines (Every team member has the right to offer ideas and suggestions), but you should make sure that the team creates these ground rules by consensus and commits to them, both as a group and as individuals. Establish a method for arriving at a consensus. You may want to conduct open debate about the pros and cons of proposals. Encourage listening and brainstorming. As team lead, your first priority in creating consensus is to stimulate debate. Remember that team members are often afraid to disagree with one another and this fear can lead your team to make mediocre decisions or serious mistakes. Encouraging debate inspires creativity and that's how you'll spur your team on to better results. Establish the parameters of consensus. Be sensitive to the frustration that can mount when the team is not achieving consensus. At the outset of your meeting, establish time limits, and work with the team to achieve consensus within those parameters. Watch out for false consensus; if an agreement is struck too quickly, be careful to probe individual team members to discover their real feelings about the proposed rule.
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