Fort Belvoir, VA –
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) defines “teams” as having at least two people “who coordinate their activities to accomplish a common goal.” DCAA knows that successfully managed teams are key for meeting goals that advance our mission and help create the best workplace for all employees.
That makes sense, but there are many attributes of a great team. How does DCAA define success for its own work and culture? Well, we’ve narrowed down the many attributes to the five best practices for DCAA, rooted in our TEAMIT values. Employees across the Agency strive to facilitate these attributes for teams they manage or work in.
Communicate. Clear and ongoing communication is a foundational best practice for managing teams. Communicating expectations is imperative. Maintaining lines of communications—and using them regularly—is also important. But communication also means actively listening to the team. Listening to each person’s view and incorporating feedback makes a good team even better.
Collaborate. OPM’s Center for Leadership Development says that work within the “federal government is more collaborative than ever.” That is certainly true at DCAA, where there is a tremendous amount of information to capture, understand, and act upon. Collaborating helps us tap into the individual strengths, perspectives, and experiences of our team members to solve challenges and find solutions.
Make it OK to ask. This is a subset of both communication and collaboration, but it is key to why DCAA operates effectively. Make sure there is space to ask questions. Ours is a unique Agency, and it takes time to learn all of its processes and nuances. And often once learned, the landscape changes! Many people feel shy about asking questions from their team members and supervisors. Maintain team openness so that people feel empowered to ask questions and avoid spinning their wheels.
Clear the roadblocks. To get the best from a team, we must make sure they can stay focused on the task at hand. Find and remove the roadblocks that threaten optimal performance. Sharon Richman, DCAA's 2020 Professional Support Supervisor of the Year, is a great example of a leader who actively cleared roadblocks to draw the best performance from her team. One key to her success? She consistently sought to increase auditors’ efficiency by leading administrative tasks so they could focus on the auditing mission.
These best practices need practice! It’s not a one-shot deal. The final best practice is to know that all these approaches need consistent practice and optimization. We never “arrive” at the perfect team, but we can achieve consistently high performance by regularly assessing and refining our approach to managing them.
Want to learn more about DCAA? Check out some of our other blog articles or visit our website.