Building, maintaining and supporting a successful team can be just as much work as whatever the team itself is actually accomplishing, but it doesn’t have to be. The following four elements of team building define what lies at the core of an effective team and their leadership.
Identifying individual strengths and weaknesses is how the best teams are assembled. While part of team chemistry has to do with personalities and learning styles, real work still has to get done. We recommend that each member of the team self-assess their strengths and weaknesses.
Forbes author and entrepreneur, Natalie MacNeil believes that in order for each team member to reach accuracy in perception they should be given access to surveys designed for that specific purpose. These short, simple and cost-effective team-building surveys will lead team members through their self-evaluation easily and more accurately.
Total transparency among the team is another vital key to building and maintaining a healthy and effective team. To start, every member on the team should be supplied with the same information across the board. Very often, team members with different focuses in the project will be given only the information that a leader might think is valuable to them. This can create a disconnect and even bottlenecks of work.
Each team member should know the how and why behind the work of their co-workers. We recommend tools like Hall or Yammer. These workplace collaboration platforms bring a great mix of social and transparency into any team. Users can follow, share, upload files, track projects and give shout outs to one another on the secure platform.
“Transparency is a powerful unifier – as was the case in the aforementioned example, it forces a team to work smarter together. It allows everyone to openly share the perspectives and opinions – creating a platform where the leaders (with help from the team itself) can begin to strategically match people to handle certain assignments based on specific performance requirements (amongst other things).” -Workplace Learship Expert, Glenn Llopis
Goals are everywhere -there are individual goals, organizational goals, departmental goals and even changing goals. They affect everyone, and everyone affects them differently. Breakdown the goals for your team into their most micro elements, assign transparent accountability for each and then tie them into the big picture, or organizational goals.
When several workers are aiming for a goal, their pathway to get there might look totally different from another’s. It is vital that goals are touched on daily in a collaborative light. Teams can get off track far faster than individuals because there are so many moving parts.
“Business leaders have a clearer perspective on the bigger picture than their employees do. It pays to tell those under you what’s going on. Spreading the intel lets everyone in on the lay of the land and at the same time strengthens the feeling among workers that they are an important part of the organization.” -Tech and Business Journalist, Karsten Strauss
When we consider the word “support” we don’t think about a leader who will micromanage, humiliate or take credit for our work, although that is what workers will often end up with. Don’t believe us? A 2013 Payscale study revealed that nearly 87% of employees don’t trust their bosses. Support means removing roadblocks, guiding, offering proactive feedback and above all, rewarding and recognizing hard work.
The majority of leaders have lost their employees trust in their support somewhere along the way. Worse than that, even great leaders will come into a situation where the employee/employer trust is already gone. The best way to earn it back is to create an environment of open communication. Solicit feedback and follow through. Inc.’s Peter Economy provides us with the 7 Things Every Great Boss Should Do, and we believe that they translate well when working with teams.
This whole team building thing isn’t that tough. The right technology, mixed with the right leadership creates a formula that ensures that teams are created thoughtfully, not just haphazardly. It’s easy to point a few people out and delegate a project, but that method of team building rarely proves as effective as doing the work and creating a truly great team.
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