Team meetings are famous for that classic round of “problems of the week” to find out what went wrong. There’s a clear objective behind this exercise: to learn from our mistakes and pinpoint root causes so we can rectify the situation in a timely manner. While gathering this information is important, we need to consider that it keeps everyone -the leader and team members- focused on what’s not working – on the mistake, the blunder or the oversight.

It’s common for many team leaders to start off meetings by asking: What problems have cropped up this week? 

Unfortunately, this question generates a wave of responses that only flow in this direction and gradually the discussion only revolves around what went wrong.

What happens with what is working well?

We probably take it for granted, but rarely do make a concerted effort to focus on the positive among members of our teams.

Why is it vital for teams to discuss what went well?

Above all, clarifying and asking about the progress we’re making is about awareness. Otherwise, we’ll overlook our wins and headway, and they’ll fly by before we know it!

Raising questions aimed at recognizing and appreciating each team member, no matter how big or small their contribution, will benefit the group in two different ways:

For leaders:

  • It allows them to focus on the team’s positive points.
  • They won’t always have to “search” for what went well. The team will assume this role.
  • They’ll be surprised and broaden their expectations.
  • They spark confidence in themselves and in others.

For team members:

  • They’ll learn to manage and focus on issues beyond the latest problems.
  • They’ll increase their awareness of unspoken “off the agenda” issues.
  • They’ll discover their colleagues’ positive traits through greater awareness of their contributions.
  • They’ll build trust within the team, as well as their own self-confidence.

When teams recognize what they do well, they’ll be able to rely on more “in-house recourses” to continue advancing and growing.

This week when you meet with your team, start off by asking:

What Went Well?