10 Must-Haves for Good Team Engagement

Each fortnight we meet as a team of alcohol and other drug counsellors.  We meet to discuss clients who have complex needs; identify ways that could be helpful in promoting the wellbeing of that individual;  and provide peer clinical supervision.  Today’s meeting was a little different in that we were hosting a social work student.

Our guest is from another country, another culture.  Sitting there today I wondered how our behaviours were interpreted by her.  What did she think of our team ethics?  Some team members have high level of emotional intelligence while others can be oblivious to the impact their behaviours have on others.  As I sat and listened to our team interacting I cannot say I was proud of our interactions.

I’ll see our student tomorrow,  and I plan to ask her what her experience of the team meeting was.   In the meantime I have been thinking about the many teams of which I have been a part.  It didn’t take long to come up with a list of ‘must-have’ behaviours.

This is my list of ‘must have’ behaviours that promote success and good outcomes in a team setting:

  1. Engagement:  Being aware of the mission statement, vision and direction of the team.  Add value, be willing to take on tasks that you may feel are beyond you at the time; be willing to have a go.
  2. Be pro-active:  Understand what the task is and get involved; use initiative
  3. Commitment:  Buy in to the whole venture not just your part of the whole; encourage and support others, celebrate small milestones along the way.
  4. Accountability:  Do what you say will do; time to let your integrity shine.
  5. Collaborative:  Team is a joint venture and everyone has a part to play, let’s talk to each other and discuss good ideas and put them to best use.
  6. Flexible:  There is always a different way to do a task; be ready and willing to change tack and try something else if this idea isn’t going where it needs to.
  7. Supportive:  Each person will have personal obstacles to overcome, you are not alone let others in on your struggles; we’re there to help move the project/work forward.
  8. Transparent:  At times everyone works alone but we like to know that our individual contributions will come together as a workable whole; working in isolation stops us from supporting your work/challenges and helping to find a way through a rough patch.
  9. Honest:  Not happy, we want to know.  We appreciate your feedback.
  10. Confidence/Trust:  Trust your colleagues have what it takes to do what they say they will do.  Have confidence and trust in yourself to play your part to the best of your ability.


At times individuals with whom I work will hit a wall in their recovery journey.  This bump in the road provides a perfect opportunity to talk about personal values.  We play the ‘Value Sort Card’ game.  Sixty cards have sixty different values with a short explanation of the value.  The cards are then sorted into three piles:  Not Important, Important, Very Important.  The first two piles are set aside and from the third pile clients choose their five most important values.  We have some lively discussion around those values.  Having identified these values helps provide clarity and direction.  The next step become apparent and the journey continues.

Transparency, honesty, commitment, supportive, confidence and trust are often in the final pile. It is interesting that often times the values identified by clients are similar to those elements listed as the team ‘must haves’  above.  The behaviours that support good team engagement are those things we  look for, and value, in others.

What are the things you value in a team member?



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