As a contractor I have had the opportunity to work with some pretty cool teams. The work culture, was inclusive, family like and supportive. I wanted to know how to create this type of environment for my team. I hosted three ScriptEd high school interns this Summer and I wanted them to have similar experiences.
I decided to look at the very people in charge of putting these teams together
Who are these people? Who are they to the team? What are their similarities? I looked at three people who have created teams that I really enjoyed working with:
My first contract position was at Franklin University. Jason the Senior Ux Designer at the time brought me on for a short 3 month project and kept me on for another larger project. He soon left a few weeks later but He was in charge of finding the other two Ux designers I came to know and had worked with the development team I solely served. There were four development teams, he had worked with each, he addressed and established design guidelines, made sure we as Ux designer continued to grow in various practices by meeting with us once a week to talk about current Ux news and was happy to step in to help but was himself dedicated to one team.
CTO of OvationTix and TheaterMania. I reported directly to him. I was the first of my kind at the company. He knew the company needed me and was still trying to figure out how to best pave a way for me and what I needed. I was part of the OvationTix development team. He gradually gave me more responsibilities, freeing him up to do other things. He was very much involved and was able to step in and help the team if needed.
Founder of ScriptEd. She brought me on to help pair-up high school students with internship opportunities. She had done everyone’s role all on her own at one point. She sits in the trenches with her team and is accessible. She will step in and help out. Doesn’t find anything “beneath her job title” and has a good idea of what everyone is dealing with.
#1 Teams have direct access to the person who created the team.
There is an formal informality. They want to interact with them and feel free to talk to them. I was able to drop by their office/cubicle and shoot them a question, no fuss, no planning.
#2 They don’t just manage the team they can work with them as well
I have so much respect for the manager who knows AND understands what their team is doing to the point that if they need help they can step up and step in and help out. They aren’t just an adviser or advocate, they are a brother/sister in arms.
A leader like this will never be without respect of the team they lead. We know that we can’t bs around, that because they’ve done what we do currently they have a good idea of what we are dealing with. That they will then also be understanding.
#3 They have a tolerance and respect for people that come from different cultures
Each of these teams are diverse in gender, ethnicity and background. Simply because they have a respect for people with different backgrounds and a low tolerance for racism and inequality and sexism they don’t hire people who are. They seem to recognize that same quality in others and hire accordingly making for some pretty fun and diverse teams.
#4 They have adopted me
In some sort of fashion whether it be like a little sister or daughter. They have taken an interest in my well-being. Not just my performance at work but my life in general. They have also let me into their life and created a two-way street. Making me feel inclusive and in doing so allowing me to care about their well being. I felt like they would have my back and I also wanted to have their back; to come to their defense.
#5 They won’t task you to do something they wouldn’t do themselves
That break, the vacation time, anything they probably wished they had when they were doing it themselves they will make sure you have it. They want things to be better for those joining the team.
#6 The are transparent
About what they are struggling with that might affect the team. They are inclusive about what they want to do in the months ahead. They allow the team to be apart of the solution and the planning.