There is nothing better than a talented team pulling together in one direction, accomplishing great things for your organization. If you don’t have a well-functioning team, you simply have a group of people who work in isolation with no input from other team members, little collaboration, and a loss of opportunities to learn from each other and from their experiences.
While teams may be strange and uncomfortable for many, they are the best way to interact with each other, develop a consensus, and work towards a common goal. In a well-functioning team, each member is aware of what the other team members are working on so that the final deliverable is very cohesive.
It takes time to build a well-functioning team, certainly longer than managing one person at a time. Once you’ve brought a well-functioning team together, it is easier to build sustained capability to perform and maximize strengths while covering individual weaknesses. In addition, you will have more time to work on other priorities because your team members will be helping each other.
Glenn Llopis, a contributor to Forbes Magazine, wrote an article in October 2012 on ways to build teams to last. He stated that team building is an art and science, and the leader who can build a high-performing team is worth his or her weight in gold.
He mentions six ways successful teams are built to last:
- Be Aware of How You Work. Be your own boss, be flexible, and know who you are as a leader.
- Get to Know the Rest of the Team. Think of your team as puzzle pieces that can be placed together in various ways.
- Clearly Define Goals and Responsibilities. A team should operate as a mosaic whose unique strengths and differences convert into a powerful united force.
- Be Proactive with Feedback. Take the time to remind someone of how and what they can be doing better. Learn from them. Don’t complicate the process of constructive feedback. Feedback is two-way communication.
- Acknowledge and Reward. When people are acknowledged, their work brings them greater satisfaction and becomes more purposeful.
- Always Celebrate Success. Celebration is a short-lived activity. Don’t ignore it. Take the time to live in the moment, and remember what allowed you to cross the finish line.
Not everyone has the skills to develop great teams. It takes a special kind of leader with a keen understanding of people, knowing their strengths, and doing what it takes to get them excited to work with each other.
As a leader, it is important to allow roles within the team to evolve naturally, delegate and empower others, create a climate of innovation and experimentation, build a sense of joy and fun for the team, and set the standard by modeling it.
As Peter Drucker, an Austrian-born American writer and management consultant, said:
“The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say ‘I.’ And that’s not because they have trained themselves not to say ‘I.’ They don’t think ‘I’; they think ‘we’; they think ‘team.’ They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don’t sidestep it, but ‘we’ gets the credit. This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done.”
Contact me if my Executive Team Development Program can help your group become a high-powered, well-functioning team.