Building Team Ownership

10 Ways to Build Positive Psychological Team Ownership: A Guide

10 Ways to Build Positive Psychological Team Ownership: A Guide

Building Positive Psychological Team Ownership

So how do you build positive psychological team ownership?

Those who exercise the positive side of psychological team ownership and commitment tend to be goal-oriented. They often feel psychologically safe in their team.

To build positive psychological team ownership, one must focus on the four enablers or feelings that form, nourish, and strengthen the desires that drive psychological team ownership.

The four enablers or feelings are:

1. A sense of success or recognition

2. A feeling of independence

3. A feeling of self-investment

4. A feeling of superior knowledge

Focusing on these enablers or feelings can strengthen the psychological team ownership. Here are ten ways to focus on feelings and build positive psychological team ownership:

  • 1. Build a Team Mission - Build and promote a clear, shared team mission that focuses on accomplishing something worthwhile. Make references to the mission often until the team members have internalized it. Celebrate the things the team has done that support the team's mission.
  • 2. Celebrate Achievements - Ensure that the team can see and celebrate their achievements, big and small. Little achievements might include meeting a deadline, completing a task, or landing a new client. Use your imagination and open your mind to see and celebrate the little achievements. It will pay off as the team builds psychological team ownership and becomes far more productive with less supervision.
  • 3. Work in Small Steps - Get the team members to create small steps that include frequent reviews and work testing. These small steps will help the team members feel greater control over their work. As the team members use regular review sessions with feedback loops, they can quickly see and address issues. At the same time, the review sessions will help them feel the rewards of having success.
  • 4. See Failure as Learning - Foster the mindset that failure is nothing more than learning in progress. A popular saying in business is "fail fast, fail often," which can be translated into "test all day, learn all day." The key here is to fail fast, meaning to identify failure quickly, which is best done by taking small steps with lots of reviews and testing. Seeing failure as learning in progress, the team members will strive to identify failure quickly. With each failure, they will become more knowledgeable about their engagement and far more effective.
  • 5. Give the Team Autonomy & Ownership - Empower the team to take autonomy and ownership over their mission. I remember how my brother empowered me to take autonomy and ownership over my swimming ability. He tossed me into the pool's deep end, and I had no choice but to swim or sink. I chose to swim. Give the team a mission, and then get them to figure out how they will accomplish it. Encourage taking small steps, with lots of testing and checking their progress. They will become more independent and dependable as they take ownership of how to do the task for what is wanted.
  • 6. Celebrate Outward - Share and celebrate the team's successes with their peers and superiors. One company I worked with had an annual Expo of Wins, where each team would demonstrate what they were doing and their successes. The public and the team members' families were invited to see the year's successes. During the year, teams were awarded medals for their success, and during the Expo of Wins, the teams would proudly show off their medals. Another company I worked with would hold quarterly planning events. The event was kicked off by teams demonstrating their successes to their peers. The team members were encouraged to invite family and special guests. After completing each demo, the team would get a BravoZulu plaque. BravoZulu means very well done. Each team member would also get a Cross pen with BravoZulu written on them.
  • 7. Written Team Agreement – Have the team discuss, agree to, and write a team agreement. The team agreement should include the team's norms, definitions of acceptance, ready and done, and scheduled times for recurring meetings. The team's norms, also known as ground rules, set the guidelines on how they interact, communicate, and conduct themselves. The displayed agreement can go a long way in reducing problems within the team. It is a reminder of what is expected from the team members, and it can head off escalating issues by issues being addressed early by fellow team members. 
  • 8. Positive Self-Image - Encourage the development of a positive self-image. Team members with a positive self-image are more willing to help team members and adopt a more positive psychological ownership of their work and the team. – See our eBook "Quick Guide to Instantly Boosting One's Self-Image and Self-Confidence."
  • 9. T-Shaped Skills - Create T-Shaped Skills to promote ongoing learning, cross-training, and ensemble development within the team. T-Shaped Skills refer to having a dominant valued skill while having skills to help team members in areas beyond their dominant skills. – see our eBook "Understanding and Developing T-Shaped Skills within Your Team." This eBook includes a chapter on collaborative development, including ensemble and peer development.
  • 10. Develop a Psychologically Safe Team Environment - In this psychologically safe team environment, team members feel comfortable voicing concerns, taking risks, and asking for help. – see our eBook "The ABCs of Developing a Psychologically Safe Team Environment."

Meet as a team often to discuss building positive psychological team ownership, a goal-oriented team mindset, and creating a psychologically safe environment. Ensure that the team members understand psychological team ownership and psychologically safe team environment and why they matter. Get the team to take ownership to build positive psychological team ownership and create a psychologically safe team environment. Make it clear that you expect results.

Ready to build positive psychological team ownership in your organization? Start by implementing above ten strategies and meeting with your team to discuss your goals and progress. For more tips on building a successful team environment, check out our other resources."

Please leave comments on how your team is going with its team ownership and suggestions on how other teams can build their sense of team ownership and commitment.