3 min read

Why Your Team Needs a Team Charter (Part 1)

Featured Image

Working in teams is the norm in today’s workplace.  Working in high performing teams is unfortunately, the exception. One powerful and simple way to help your team function at its best is to create a team charter. 

What is a team charter? 

A document co-created by the team members that clarifies the team’s direction and establishes boundaries and ground rules.  A team charter makes it explicit to everyone on the team what they are working towards, how they will be measured, who is doing what, and how they will work together. 

Benefits of a team charter:

  Working in teams can be a highly triggering experience for our brains, leading to stress, lower performance, dysfunctional dynamics and disengagement.  David Rock’s Neuroleadership SCARF™ model is a tool to pinpoint which types of stress affects each team member based on threat and reward triggers that are hardwired within our brains. Knowing these triggers can give you important clues into what needs aren't being met for your team, and what you can change to become a high-performing team. 

When a team charter is created in-person with everyone’s input, there are numerous benefits for how a team charter can create positive brain energy and significant bottom line impact.  

 Threat and Reward Triggers

Team Charter Reward Activators

Status:  Perceived relative importance to others

Affirms what a team member’s role contributes to the team/organization and with awareness of how this role compares to the other team members

Certainty: Perceived ability to predict the future

Provides clear expectations;  Creates plans for meetings and other systems that contribute consistency to team interactions;  Provides dates in the future of what to expect, establishes milestones;  Creates agreements i.e. when to follow up;  Prioritizes central goals;  manages multiple focus and competing commitments; Breaks complex problems into simple steps

Autonomy:  Perceived sense of control over events

Creates choice; Offers options of what could work; Which would you prefer?  Encourages participation and contribution

Relatedness:  Perceived sense of safety with others

Creates guidelines for how the team will work together;   Clarifies who are resources for each other;  Inclusive way for people to feel not part of the “in” group

Fairness:  Perceived sense of fair exchanges  between people

Provides a framework for consistent policy adherence;  Increases transparency in communication and involvement of others in business issues;  Sets clear expectations supported by co-created ground rules

There are many more benefits than those described above.  The bottom line is that is good for the bottom line when a team has a team charter guiding their activity together.  In my next blog post, I will share a case study of a team I worked with who had never worked with a team charter and the value they experienced when they began operating with one.

Stay tuned for part two!


Have you used a team charter? Have you found a good team charter template? Tell us below!

3 min read

Personal Leadership Development Plan: Helping Teams Under Stress


The following is another lesson from my coaching play book about a leader whose team was...

4 min read

Everyone Wins When You Address Personality Dynamics During Times of Change

There is nothing like a sudden change of executive leadership to trigger all kinds of personality dynamics in a team....

2 min read

Being A Successful Leader For Your New Hire: Sink or Swim?

More than 70% of executives are not effective at supporting new-to-role peers and managers according the Corporate...