One way you can help your team to peer manage each other is to set up a team charter. This is a set of guidelines that says, ‘This is how we work around here’. Another name for this is a Team Constitution. Always include the team in setting up a team charter. Never impose the guidelines and also consider what the consequences are for those who break the rules. You’ll find that the team will self-police these guidelines if they are agreed upon and visible and that consequences are followed up on.
The best way to start would be to have some idea yourself of what you feel would be some useful inclusions. These can include areas that you have seen cause issues in the past. For example, if people are regularly late, you could guide the discussion towards a consequence for being late. In a previous company I worked at, they had instituted ‘The Late Wedge’ which consisted of the late arriver in putting a set amount of money in an envelope taped to the door which got used for Friday drinks that week. The manager never had to enforce it because the whole team would.
Keep it relevant
The start of the charter should include the purpose of the team’s existence and goals with some explanation of the values of the team. This helps to set the scene and give some context. Having a vision helps to hang all of the reasoning of the charter on. This helps when someone offers a suggestion for the charter which you feel is a little bit ‘left field’. Ask the question, ‘How will this help us achieve our vision?’ Drawing all things back to the vision, goals and reason the team exists can really help keep the focus clear and avoid things getting cluttered.
You could include areas such as:
- Conduct towards each other
- Dress code
- What to do if you feel uncomfortable
- Work ethics
- How to show respect to one another
When new people join the team, the charter is something you can discuss at interview stage so that they understand what is expected in your team right from the outset.
There are many examples of team charters available on the internet. You can pick up some great ideas on how to get started. Consider canvassing your team’s views on the idea and help them understand the benefits of having one. It’s a great way to iron out some of the on-going niggles in a team and will help save a lot of your time resolving issues that won’t even need to reach you.