Making Teams Work: The Basics
All the best teams have to work hard to maintain top quality performance and results. All teams face challenges such as squeezes on resources, changes in customer demand, competition and changes in team membership.
If you are a team leader and want to build a high performing team here are 5 steps which will help you on your way to achieving that goal.
- Agree on a compelling team purpose
Your team purpose should be clear and meaningful. It needs to challenge team members as well as have an impact on the lives and work of others.
Work with your team to set out why you do what you do and what it means to people. A compelling team purpose means that your team will be able to inspire customers, stakeholders and investors by talking about why they come to work and the difference they make to the world. It will also help to guide team decisions.
- Be clear on team roles and team goals
People need to know what is expected of them, what skills they need and what good performance looks like.
Agree with your team what they, collectively, are there to achieve and the stages they need to go through to achieve their end goals.
Be transparent about allocating work so that everyone is clear on who is responsible for what and is aware of the interdependencies that exist between team members.
- Develop the team’s emotional intelligence
The best teams have a diverse range of thinking and behavioural preferences; they use their difference to innovate and solve problems faster. However, differences can also cause misunderstandings and tension.
Support individuals to understand themselves, what motivates them and energises them as well as what drains and stresses them. Then support them to understand the same about their colleagues and, of course, you!
Knowing more about others’ working preferences or motivators makes for greater trust and team co-ordination.
When I work with teams I use Lumina Spark® because it is a very inclusive and non-judgemental tool that reveals peoples’ personalities and is brilliant at supporting personal and team growth. Teams enjoy using it too!
- Learn to communicate well
Communicating well means …
- giving progress reports and agreeing next steps
- being able to talk about difficult stuff
- talking about what is working well
- agreeing on how you will ‘be’ together. For example, agreeing that ‘there is no such thing as a bad idea’ will encourage people to feel comfortable speaking up.
- Bring your stakeholders, customers or investors into the team
Consider inviting stakeholders to your meetings to gain valuable information on what is working well and what could be working even better. Even if they don’t come in person, seek feedback regularly. Always ensure that your key performance indicators reflect stakeholder expectations.
Do get in touch
It’s essential to know where your team stands in relation to these 5 steps before considering which areas to focus on first; especially if you are considering bringing in a team coach to help you.
Please get in touch for a free team health check by contacting me on 07790973723 or email me at email@example.com.
Hawkins, P (2017) Leadership Team Coaching, Kogan Page
Clutterbuck, D (2019) Leadership functions: keys to changing team dynamics, LinkedIn 14.01.19
Hackman, J and Wageman, R (2005) A Theory of Team Coaching, Academy of Management Review vol 30 No 2
Rozovsky, J (2015) The five keys to a successful Google team, https://rework.withgoogle.com/blog/five-keys-to-a-successful-google-team/
Reynolds, A and Lewis, D The two traits of the best problem solving teams, Harvard Business Review April 2018