Would you agree that teamwork is extremely important for the success of a company? In a team, people can work together and accomplish much more than they could by themselves. This concept of synergy is how many great companies achieve success and thrive.
Why is this important to build a great team?
As a manager, it is your job to chart the company’s vision so that you can lead your team in the right direction as well as ensuring that your team understands the vision of the company, are fully engaged in it and are working effectively together in order to help you to realize that vision.
Without a strong and clear vision and lead from you, the manager, you will struggle to plan, engage and manage your team towards a shared future.
Here are the 8 critical steps to build a productive team:
Step 1: Create shared purpose.
How do you do so? Start by making sure that everyone knows what objectives and targets the team must achieve. Share your vision for the team and invite team members to do the same. By doing all of this, you create a strong, shared and common purpose for your team.
Step 2: Practice open communication.
How do you do this? By creating appropriate transparency. Be transparent about what you share and honest about privileged information you are not able or allowed to share.
Step 3: Build Trust and Mutual Respect.
How do you do this? Be consistent, reliable and fair when dealing with your team members. Over time your team members will mirror your practice. Then trust and mutual respect will prevail. So practice what you preach and get feedback about how they experience you as a team leader.
Step 4: Co-create shared values.
Values are what we emotionally hold as important. Each team member may have different values, so run a 1-hour team values setting workshop. Ask each person to write the 3 most important things they want from and will give each other. Talk about and agree on the 3 values the team will live by and hold each other accountable for.
Step 5: Build Effective Working Procedures.
This requires your team to agree on division of labor and its decision making process. When agreeing on division of labor, don’t focus on formal roles. Instead focus on sharing work. Then agree what’s the best way to make decisions. Will you make some or all decisions? Will you consult and make decisions? Will you delegate decisions to experts on the team? Will you bring in outside experts? Agree on and use a process.
Step 6: Build on Differences.
This requires you to observe the team, use a strengths based assessment tool for each member and / or use a team role questionnaire such as Belbin (a questionnaire that helps you discover the behavioural strengths and weaknesses of the individuals that you work with) to have an evidence view of members and the overall team’s strengths, weaknesses and interests. With this understanding, you will be better able to give tasks and responsibilities that suit individual strengths and interests and serve the team’s needs.
Step 7: Adaptability and Flexibility.
The dynamic nature of business that you build adaptability and flexibility into how your team works to deliver results. Being adaptable and flexible requires you, your team member and / or your team to change your approach or plan when it’s not working. But it does not require you to change your objectives and targets.
Step 8: Continuous Learning.
Continuous learning is the crowning characteristics of great team because practice and reflection makes perfect. How do you create a culture of continuous learning? Borrow from the military. After completing a project or reaching a key milestone, spend an hour doing an after action review focusing on 1. Did we achieve our desired goal? 2. Why or why not? 3. How do we learn from this and incorporate our learning for the future?
These steps will help you maintain and grow a great team into the future of the company.