Some of the team were taking things very personally.

They knew all about “assuming best intent” but it seemed that they couldn’t help themselves. “He” was doing it deliberately. “She” was always like this.

There was no underlying problem – we’d checked with one-to-one phone interviews – they’d just been delivering to such demanding deadlines for so long without pausing that some of the normal frictions between people were becoming big issues.

After helping the team to put the 9-Dimensions® in place for themselves – the conditions that help a team to thrive – they agreed they needed a boost to get the team relationships working well again. It was time for the Team Tool called ‘The Circle of Appreciation’.

Forming a circle we asked for a brave volunteer to go first. Standing in the middle, they were only allowed to say ‘thank you’ in response to their team giving them positive feedback. With the timer set to 2 mins, everyone burst into life, taking it in turns to call the person’s name so that – once they were facing them – they could look them in the eyes and tell them what they appreciated.

It wasn’t planned or asked for, but at the end of each turn as the volunteer left the middle of the circle, the team burst into applause, which had the effect of endorsing the positive feedback on behalf of the whole team.

Some people found it easier to accept the feedback than others. Some found it uplifting. Some found it emotional. Some found it easier than others to give feedback. The whole team had to dig deep to keep their energy high for the last few, so that everyone was treated equally.

Regardless of all of these dynamics, the overall effect was a ‘glow effect’ that not only gave a great end to their Team Effectiveness days together, but also stayed with them for several weeks afterwards as they put their new ways of working in place.

Would your team benefit from this tool, too?