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Iki-iki team - Building relationships to enable team performance

Published:Sunday | July 1, 2018 | 12:00 AMTadaoki Kihara/Past Jamaica Productivity Consultant

"I have attended various team performance seminars and workshops. However, it is very difficult to apply the knowledge I acquired to my team. How can I increase my team's performance?" If you have ever asked yourself this question, you should make your team an 'iki-iki team'.

The word 'iki-iki' is Japanese, meaning 'lively, active and vigorous'. An iki-iki team is an active and powerful team, where the wisdom and power of members come together to work toward the team's goal. How can we build an iki-iki team?

Is it iki-iki?

Imagine a situation like this. I have to attend a team meeting, but I don't have to join the discussion because other members will discuss and reach best solutions. Or, I don't like everything about my teammates. I don't want to speak with them. Or, his voice is loud, he always wins the discussion. Or, he is my boss, I have to follow him without discussion and do as he says.

Do you think this is an iki-iki team? Of course NOT! Why not? All members are independent of each other. They are not ready to share their knowledge or wisdom. No good relationship is seen between the members. They discuss, but they can never get the wisdom and power of members together. Not every team is an iki-iki team.


Relationship - the key to an iki-iki team


An iki-iki team has good relationships between team members. Good relationships lead to good thinking as a team. Good thinking makes it easy to take action and improve teamwork. And finally, good teamwork improves the performance of the team.

It is, therefore, important to consider how we build good relationships within a team? Before discussing it, let us see what is relationship in a team and how it works.


Relationship controls team activity


Relationship in a team is something like the underwater section of an iceberg. Relationships and how relationships change (group process) are not clearly seen from outside, but serve as the underpinning support for visible team activity (contents).

Relationships include not only superior-follower relationship, but also the behavioural and mental status of team members.

Relationships affect group process, which critically influences the visible contents of team activity. Warm and affirmative relationships make group process smooth and positive, which results in reaching conclusions with the consent of all team members.


Building good relationships


Procedure, behaviour, emotion - relationships have various factors that influence group process and contents. However, there are three core points that you should focus on in order to build good relationships and a successful iki-iki team. These are: sharing goals, deep listening, and telling the truth.

Having a goal is the lighthouse in navigating group process, whether it is a goal for meetings held or the goal of the team. It guides team members to the place where they should go. When team discussions come to a deadlock, the goal will show how to break through. Staying under shared goals improve the productivity (effectiveness and efficiency) of team activity.

Deep listening is not only listening to the words of the speaker, but also listening to the background of the words and the mind of the speaker. While listening, you should never think about what your response to the speaker will be, but you should purely be involved in listening.

This makes the speaker feel that he is really being listened to, and allows the speaker to be free from fears and misgivings of telling the truth.

Telling the truth is enabled by deep listening. In telling the truth, team members talk about the real problems and wisdom of the solutions, even though they might be different from what other members bear in mind. When truth is told by all team members, the wisdom and power of the team will come together, and the team will become a successful iki-iki team.