Category Archives: Team Building

Five Behaviors that Unite Your Team




“Divide and rule, the politician cries; unite and lead, is the watchword of the wise.” —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM



Why is it so important to unite your team? When your team is divided it is every man for himself. Each member has their own agenda and is looking out for their own best interest. When a team is united, true collaboration can take place. Every member is putting their best effort into what is best for the team as a whole. Each member plays an important role in reaching the shared goals of the group. So, what behaviors will help unite your team?

Finding commonality

Barbara Deming said, “The longer we listen to one another – with real attention – the more commonality we will find in all our lives. That is, if we are careful to exchange with one another life stories and not simply opinions.” Everyone wants to feel a sense of belonging, to be part of something bigger than themselves, and to work with others with whom they can relate. By creating a sense of community and belonging you can develop a team identity and begin to unite your team.

Eliminating the us vs. them mentality

Sharon Salzberg believes, “We can learn the art of fierce compassion – redefining strength, deconstructing isolation and renewing a sense of community, practicing letting go of rigid us-vs.-them thinking – while cultivating power and clarity in response to difficult situations.” Unity requires the building of trusting, respectful relationships. An us vs. them mentality undermines your ability to form meaningful relationships throughout your team. Recognize that your team is your #1 asset; every member has something to contribute. Help unite your team by eliminating the us vs. them mentality and by giving credit where it is due, communicating openly, and showing respect for every member.

Recognize that everyone adds value

Michelle Obama explained, “We learned about gratitude and humility – that so many people had a hand in our success, from the teachers who inspired us to the janitors who kept the school clean… and we were taught to value everyone’s contribution and treat everyone with respect.” Everyone wants to know that their contribution is valued. Every member of the team is there for a reason, they have a specific role to play, and they bring with them unique experiences and knowledge. Unite your team by showing them that you recognize the value they bring to the team. Invest in them and provide opportunities for growth. Give them the support, encouragement, and the resources they need to be successful.

Share the success

Michael Ironside tells us, “People who get involved with the success of something have to be given at least some share in that success.” When the team succeeds, everyone on the team succeeds. Create a win-win team environment where individual members benefit as the team progresses. Focus on removing obstacles and helping others grow and succeed. Every day offers the opportunity to take on individual and shared challenges that help us grow and move us one step closer to achieving our goals. Set ambitious goals, unite your team under one vision, and then share and celebrate successes both small and large.

Let leaders emerge naturally

Robin S. Sharma reminded us, “Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It’s about impact, influence, and inspiration. Impact involves getting results, influence is about spreading the passion you have for your work, and you have to inspire team-mates and customers.” Help team members recognize their strengths and weaknesses then find ways to empower them to use their strengths for the benefit of the team. Serve as a coach, at the sidelines, allowing the team to share in the leadership. Allow team members to step up when their strengths fit the current needs of the group. Unite your team by empowering them to stand up for what they believe in, always have their back, and let leaders emerge from among the ranks.

Unite Your Team

Create unity in your team where collaboration, innovation, and continual growth can take place. Develop a supportive environment where the contribution of each member is recognized and valued. Find commonality, eliminate the us vs. them mentality, recognize that everyone adds value, share the success, and let leaders emerge naturally. A successful team is a united team.
© 2015 Elizabeth Stincelli


Elizabeth Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Elizabeth holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Elizabeth by visiting her website, and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at


What Do Employees Really Want?



“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” —Anne M. Mulcahy

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM


Why You Should Care

Why should you care about what your employees really want? As Anne M. Mulcahy stated, employees are more productive, satisfied, and fulfilled   when they know you care. Studies show that 70% of employees do not feel engaged in their work. Research has shown that employees are more likely to leave their positions because of their boss than any other reason. Yet, employers tend to think that a much higher percentage of employees leave for more money than any other factor. Less than 25% of leaders have a strategy for engagement. Only 40% of employees feel they even know the goals and strategy of their organization. Engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their positions. Organizations with happy, engaged employees have two-and-a-half times the revenue and two times the net income of organizations with unhappy, disengaged employees.

The happiness and engagement of your employees affect your success and your bottom line. This should be reason enough for you to care. So, what do employees really want? I.C.E. is a good place to start.


Brian Eno suggested, “You either believe that people respond to authority, or that they respond to kindness and inclusion. I’m obviously in the latter camp. I think people respond better to reward than punishment.” Your employees want to be involved in something bigger than themselves. They want to know their company mission; they want to be able to tell the world what their company is up to; to be proud of where they work. Include employees in progress and strategy meetings. Encourage them to share the great things that are happening in the organization. Let them tell the story and be ambassadors for your brand.


Chris Hemsworth explained, “People who put themselves on the line and sacrifice their own safety for the greater good and for others, and anyone in any profession whose concern is the welfare for other people instead of the individual are inspiring and important.” It doesn’t matter your position or industry, you can always put your people before yourself. Let them know that you care. Your employees want a leader who provides them with concern for the greater good, empowerment, honesty, accountability, respect, and authenticity. Show them that you have concern for their growth and capability; recognize what they’re capable of and empower them to reach their full potential. Care for them as a person, not just an employee.


Gary Hamel believed, “The real damper on employee engagement is the soggy, cold blanket of centralized authority. In most companies, power cascades downwards from the CEO. Not only are employees disenfranchised from most policy decisions, they lack even the power to rebel against egocentric and tyrannical supervisors.” Employees want opportunities, responsibilities, and tasks that are directly related to achieving the goals and mission of the organization they work for. When employees are engaged they are more satisfied and create more value for the company. They want to be challenged and empowered to design their own tasks. When you engage your employees they will be more committed to accomplishing something valuable not only for the company, but for themselves, and their community.

Make it Happen

Ian Smith said, “I think happiness is a combination of pleasure, engagement, and meaningfulness.” Include your employees by sharing where the organization is, where it is going, and allow them to help design how to get there. Demonstrate genuine interest and concern for your employees as individuals. Show them that you care about them on a personal level, not just as an employee. Make sure they can see that you are looking out for their best interests before your own. Engage them in meaningful work that they find interesting and rewarding. Giving employees what they really want using I.C.E. is a simple step that will provide lasting reward.





© 2015 Elizabeth Stincelli


Elizabeth Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Elizabeth holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Elizabeth by visiting her website, and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at


How Are You Managing Change?



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“Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.” —Arnold Bennett

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM


Why Change

Fight it all you want, change is inevitable. When we fail to embrace change we cause ourselves undue stress and waste valuable time and resources. Why change? Change becomes necessary when the needs of our organization, customers, or employees change.

How We Change

Once we realize that needs have changed, and therefore we need to evolve; we must set a realistic change goal. Every level of management must roll-up their sleeves and get involved. Employees must understand and believe the reason for the change and the benefit to them personally. The organization must be committed to pursuing the long-term vision and the change requirements associated with it. Here are four factors that will help you manage change.


Have a clear purpose. How will this change influence, improve, and impact others? What problem are you solving or what are you improving on? How will it benefit you customers? How will employees benefit? How does this change fit into the overall organizational objectives? People’s main concern is their own well-being; your employees need a clear understanding of your purpose and how they will be impacted by the change.


Create a proper plan for implementing change. Spend extra time formulating a good plan. Build flexibility in the plan. Set clear goals, identify milestones, and outline the timeframe. Ensure that goals are ambitious, yet attainable. What scope does the plan cover and what are the deliverables? Identify what success looks like. Determine what relationships and resources you will need to accomplish your goals. Do your plans for change fit with the vision of the organization? You must determine a budget for the plan. Specifically identify who will be accountable for each task. Then, bring the right team of people together to implement the plan. Check results early and often to ensure you are not veering off course.


Develop an organizational culture that embraces change. Your culture should encourage a sense of responsibility, camaraderie, and generosity. Encourage the development of strong relationships throughout your organization. Let employees share in the leadership responsibility. Make sure you have the right people serving in the right roles. Provide engaging work for your employees and allow every employee to use their expertise in achieving shared goals. Build loyalty by promoting a positive culture that encourages employee participation. You should encourage innovation and allow for mistakes. Help employees develop collaborative and decision-making skills. Promote transparency. Create an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect where teams are motivated and engaged.


Successful change management is more dependent on communication than on strategy. Make sure you are clearly communicating with your employees early and often. Set an example of the level of communication that is expected. Talk truthfully about change. Be genuine in both your words and actions. Clearly outline ownership and accountability. Promote a common understanding of the long-term vision of the organization as well as the immediate goal. Listen more than you speak and ensure that you understand what’s being said. Communication is the only way to succeed. If your communication isn’t reaching your team, you won’t be successful at managing change.


Change is inherently uncomfortable, but the fact is we must change or we become obsolete. Failing to recognize the need for change can result in wasted time, energy, and resources. You can minimize the fear and resistance associated with change by defining and sharing a clear purpose for the change; by setting realistic goals; and evaluating who and how others with be affected by the change. Communicate the purpose, goals, and benefits to all parties that will be impacted. Always be transparent and open in your communication. Develop a culture within your organization that is agile and embraces change. Create a plan for the implementation of change and outline how success will be measured. Engage employees in the process of identifying the need for change, formulating a plan, and implementing the change. When employees are invested in the change process managing change can be a positive, transforming experience.



© 2014 Elizabeth Stincelli


Elizabeth Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Elizabeth holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Elizabeth by visiting her website, and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at


Resolving Conflict-It’s Not about Winning


“Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” —Ronald Reagan

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM


What Causes Conflict and How Do We Resolve It?

Conflict is the mental struggle that arises when our ideas, needs, wishes, or demands are in opposition to those of others. Conflict is inevitable when you bring people together from different beliefs and backgrounds. When we spend time in conflict with each other we are wasting energy and destroying any sense of camaraderie. Conflict does not resolve itself and only escalates if not addressed. Unresolved conflict can result in the loss of productivity, cooperation, collaboration, and creativity. Let’s look a little deeper at some of the factors that cause conflict and how we can resolve them.

Cognitive bias

Cognitive biases are thinking errors that impact how we interpret the world around us. These biases often occur when we try to over-simplify how we process information. Biases cause irrational thinking and affect our ability to make sound decisions.

Biases can influence in simple ways such allowing the way you currently feel to color the way you interpret the world around you. They can permit your judgment to become dependent on previously provided evidence with little regard for new evidence. You may have the tendency to listen only to information that confirms your preconceived beliefs or to interpret information in a way that confirms these beliefs. Your expectations could be unconsciously influencing how you perceive the outcome of interactions. It is also easy to let ourselves get caught up in group think and adopt the beliefs of others without proper evaluation.

When we experience a cognitive bias it impairs our ability to rationally interpret information and experiences. It is easy to fail to recognize and compensate for our own biases. We must be aware of these biases and how they impact our thinking in order to prevent and resolve the conflict they may cause.


Conflict often arises when we assume all parties are talking about the same thing. Often we find that each participant to a conversation has their own definitions and meanings which are not in agreement with each other. In order to eliminate ambiguity we must come to the same understanding, with the same definitions and meanings by asking open-ended questions which you do not have preconceived answers for. Listen with the intent of gaining an understanding of how other parties perceive the situation.

Many times conflict involves the perception we have of the role we play in a group differing from how others see it. Conflict becomes more likely when we are operating under different assumptions about our roles and responsibilities than those we work with. Clear, written communication can be effective at keeping ambiguity to a minimum. Make sure you know what the conflict you are experiencing is really about. Work together to assign clear roles, define reality, and eliminate ambiguity.


The most successful approach to resolving conflict is open, two-way communication. In order to communicate effectively you must learn to listen without passing judgment. Each party to the communication will apply their own definitions and meanings; therefore, you can’t just listen to the facts. You have to ask probing questions and come to a consensus on the definition and meaning of the facts. Also, don’t just listen to others to figure out how you can get them to agree with your point of view. Listen to really understand and appreciate their reality so you can understand where they are coming from.

Be clear and consistent with communication from the very beginning of the relationship. Ask questions and keep an open mind. Talk through and test the feasibility of proposed solutions together. Prepare in advance for difficult conversations. Define how you see the problem. What points do you think are important? Come prepared to propose possible solutions. Make sure your message is clear and concise. When working to resolve conflict, watch the tone and language that you use and keep your emotions out of the discussion. Be an active listener and show yourself to be transparent and trustworthy. Focus on mending relationships before turning your focus to tasks.

Spanning boundaries

To resolve conflict we must learn to build bridges between management, employees, suppliers, and customers. We must develop strong relationships between people with differing beliefs, experience, and knowledge. By clarifying the role that each individual plays and the purpose of the team you can capitalize on the power that individual differences bring to the table.

Establish commonality by creating a shared vision, building trust, and coming together to achieve a higher purpose. Co-create something greater than could be achieved individually by combining a shared vision and strategy with the expertise, resources, and experiences of each individual. Span boundaries by accepting and appreciating the diversity that builds a great team.

It’s Not about Winning

Conflict is inevitable. It’s usually rooted in poor communication and the inability to control our emotions. When working to resolve conflict, listen with the intent of developing a connection, not to merely respond. Don’t communicate with the goal of getting the other person to agree with your point of view; communicate to bring differing points of view together to co-create something that is new.

When dealing with conflict, keep your emotions in check and maintain moral high ground. You do not have the power to change others so you may have to look at ways you can change your approach to managing relationships to avoid and resolve conflict. Conflict can be about bringing differing opinions together and co-creating something fantastic. Don’t think of resolving conflict in terms of winning. It’s not about seeking to defeat an enemy but about finding common ground for cooperation, compromise, and collaboration.

© 2014 Elizabeth Stincelli


Elizabeth Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Elizabeth holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Elizabeth by visiting her website, and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at


So, You’re a New Leader


So, You’re a New Leader

“The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.” —Henry A. Kissinger

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM


 A New Leader

So, you’ve been promoted into a leadership position. While, as the leader, you are now responsible to plan and direct the actions of those you lead, more importantly, you must learn to inspire and empower them. You are now under the scrutiny of your new team. They want to know if you are worthy to be followed. It’s up to you to earn their trust and respect. They are going to be looking to you to provide a sense of purpose that each of them can buy into.

        What Now?

Are you prepared to lead? One of the very first things you must do as a new leader is to determine where you’re starting from, where you need to be going, and the obstacles you may face. You need to learn how things really work on the front lines so you will be better prepared provide direction and make decisions. You need to get to know your team and earn their respect. Here are some starting points for your leadership journey.


Followers need to know that you believe in yourself. This is not arrogance but confidence. Do your homework; make sure that when you speak you know what you are talking about and then trust yourself and your judgment. Set out on a quest to continually gain new knowledge and experiences. Show followers that you are competent to lead. Live your life as an example that you can be proud of.

               Establish a foundation

Establish a solid foundation of principles, expectations, and values. Develop and clearly demonstrate through your words and actions a shared purpose and vision. Provide meaningful work where followers can take pride in their contributions. Demonstrate the authenticity of your intentions through transparent and open communication.

Develop a culture that values consistent behavior, the sharing of knowledge, and encourages collaboration. Put the right people in the right roles and show a commitment helping them become successful. Commit to quality and set up measures to monitor results. Ask great questions and really listen to the answers. Foster an environment of strong relationships, teamwork, and collaboration.


Be supportive of your employees. Clearly outline your expectations and give them the opportunity to come up with their own ideas rather than you dictating what they should do. Value each member of your team for what they can contribute not for their position. Remember, you don’t have all the answers so trust the knowledge and skills of your team members. Engage and encourage each of your followers to participate in the leadership of the organization. Help followers to continue to develop personally and professionally.

Encourage your team to challenge the status quo with innovative thinking. Urge team members to voice differing perspectives, not for conflict, but to improve performance. Encourage team members to connect authentically and show them how by the example you set. Form a diverse team to ensure a continual supply of new perspectives. Emphasize accountability and ownership. Give credit to team members where and when it is due.


Your character will play a pivotal role in your success or failure as a leader. Make sure your service is focused on others and not self-serving. Know what you stand for and why. Be committed to your values and principles. Always be authentic. Lead with purpose and compassion. Demonstrate patience and strength under pressure.

Build deep and meaningful relationships with those you work with. Show everyone they matter by giving them your time and making them feel valued. Show them that you recognize and appreciate their efforts. Demonstrate your competence. Do what others won’t and be willing to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. Be courageous and embrace the lessons that failure has to offer. Show humility. Be fair and consistent in your leadership. Be a good listener. Always practice what you preach. And, strive to inspire and motivate those around you.


Lead for the right reasons. If your intentions are not authentic your employees will quickly see through the façade and you will lose their trust and respect. Lead not for the benefits to you personally but to leave a legacy through the lives you have impacted. Be a compassionate leader. Share your wisdom. Help others grow and reach their full potential. Share and grow your vision. Always stand by your principles. Inspire all who come in contact with you. Serve to encourage and lift others through inspiration and hope.


As a new leader you must determine where your team is, where they are going, and how they are going to get there. You need a strong vision for the future that your team can support. If you always put the needs of your team before your own they will become your loyal supporters. Don’t lead for the sake of the position; take this new opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those you work with. Leadership is a journey, not a destination.



© 2014 Elizabeth Stincelli


Elizabeth Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Elizabeth holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Elizabeth by visiting her website, and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at


Let’s Collaborate


Let’s Collaborate

“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples, then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” —George Bernard Shaw

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM



Collaboration brings us together to work towards a shared objective. If we can collaborate effectively we increase our chances for success. Collaborating with others offers us the opportunity to be part of something larger than ourselves.

We can achieve more together than the sum of what we can achieve individually. Successful collaboration creates win-win situations where all parties benefit. People are most productive and satisfied at work when they feel supported, rewarded, and aligned with the work they are doing. Effective collaboration puts the right people in right roles and provides them with the voice, support, and encouragement needed to be successful. Here are a few factors impact your odds of collaborating successfully.


The culture of your organization will either foster or destroy collaboration. The culture should promote the attitude that there is always something new to be discovered. You never know where the next great idea will come from. A healthy culture encourages employees to ask questions. It challenges employees to wonder what might be possible if we work together. Collaboration helps us to feel energized and connected as we work in a team environment. Develop a culture that engages employees to participate in collaboration without competing with each other. Encourage the development of the authentic connections between colleagues that builds a sense of community. Promote a culture that encourages and rewards collaboration and advances a shared vision to guide collaborative efforts.


Successful collaboration is dependent on building strong, authentic relationships. These relationships allow us to influence and inspire others. Get to know colleagues on a personal basis. Always treat each other with respect. Use your relationships to develop a spirit of cooperation and offer encouragement and support.


Communication connects us with others and is a key factor in effective collaboration. Communication should always be respectful. In a collaborative environment people should be given a voice to express themselves in a constructive manner. Encourage others to ask questions and challenge the status quo. Clearly communicate shared goals and objectives. Resolve disagreements quickly and in a respectful manner. And, remember to express appreciation for the contributions of team members.


Trust is an important component of any successful collaboration. The collaborative environment must reduce the fear of judgment that hinders participation and productivity. Develop an atmosphere that encourages others to share ideas in a safe and respectful environment. Show compassion for colleagues. Set an example of how to treat others and how to work together effectively. Treat colleagues as equals. Develop a code of conduct so that situations are handled consistently and fair.


To collaborate effectively the team should focus on cooperation and developing connections between members. Every participant should be encouraged to bring the best of themselves to the table. To be successful, teams should focus their energy on outcomes not problems. Create a Collaborative environment with shared objectives that focus on what’s best for the organization as a whole.


You must build collaboration into the culture of your organization. The culture should empower individuals to work together to accomplish more than would be possible if they were working alone. A positive, collaborative environment encourages team members to share opinions and ideas, promotes cooperation, and develops strategic partnerships.

When we work together we can accomplish more that we ever could working individually. When we join forces we all win. Now, everyone, roll up your sleeves and let’s collaborate.


© 2014 Elizabeth Stincelli


Building Your Team


Building Your Team

“Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.” —Mattie Stepanek

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM


In order for a team to successfully achieve their goals, team members must be willing and able to share knowledge, experience, and skills in the coordination and completion of the work at hand.

        Building Your Team

So you have a project to accomplish. You are given a team with which to work. The question now becomes, how do you build your team so that, as a whole, you are successful? Here are a few areas that can impact the level of success your team achieves.


Working as a team towards shared goals requires collaboration. Collaboration must be built into the very culture of the organization. A culture where individuals are empowered to work together to accomplish more than would be possible when working individually. Collaboration provides a real sense of community. Successful collaboration requires clearly identified objectives and boundaries. Then, engaged employees should be allowed to operate freely within those boundaries. The most effective collaborative environments encourage team members to voice different perspectives, foster a spirit of cooperation, and develop strategic partnerships.


Cohesion provides team unity as a whole. Cohesion requires a sense of community and a shared vision to work towards. Create a team with the right mix of members where everyone serves in the roles that best fit their strengths. Team members should learn to empathize with each other. Members should be willing to share their knowledge and previous experiences to help others. Successful teams communicate and learn from each other.


Show that you admire the abilities and accomplishments of team members. Treat everyone with respect.  Develop mutual trust within the team. Respect your colleague’s ability to do their job. Remember that everyone has something to contribute. Bear in mind that the team succeeds or fails as a whole.


Give assistance and never leave anyone behind. Each team member must roll-up their sleeves and contribute to the work to be done. Make sure the team has the resources they need to achieve their goals. Help team members keep their eyes on what is really important. Develop a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities and then support each other in those roles. Act as a mentor or advisor to those members who need additional guidance.


How well we work together as a team determines our success or failure at achieving our desired results. You cannot sit idly by and expect your team to succeed. Make a conscious effort and focus your energies on building your team.

© 2014 Elizabeth Stincelli