Building Effective Teams

As most of our readers know, we are dedicated to unlocking the power of human potential. Part of that mission is understanding how to get the most out of the various teams that operate in your organization. Senior Strategic Partner, Laura Dillingham is a well-known expert in team dynamics. Enjoy her Power Idea about how you build effective teams in your organization. Be sure to tune into our webinar on this topic at 8:00 AM PDT on Thursday, October 23rd.

Ideally, choosing your team is the best option. However, more often than not, that is not the case. So given less than ideal circumstances what’s the best way to proceed? Teams, whether the members are chosen or not, still require the same guidelines and parameters to operate, and still go through the same stages of development. They will need to learn effective ways to communicate and resolve conflicts.

No matter what the purpose of the team is, whether they are a permanent team or a project team, they will need certain elements to help ensure a successful outcome. They need a designated leader, scribe and a code of conduct or rules that all members agree and adhere to, a pre-determined or chosen day, time and length of time to meet, and a reporting structure.

The team leader is crucial in building an effective team. To do that, they must build relationships with team members. The best way to build relationships is through earned mutual trust and respect. Sounds easy right? It’s probably not, but with dedication and a willingness to learn as a leader it can be accomplished. Let’s look at some critical items needed to help a leader build an effective team.

  • The leader needs to be clear on what the team needs to accomplish – This is important if you are going to lead a team because you will need to establish standards, milestones, responsible parties, action steps and deadlines, as well as ensure everyone understands their individual and collective roles.
  • Establish team values and goals – Communicate the team’s progress so that every member understands what success looks like and that it looks the same for everyone. Set clear performance standards and communicate and discuss them with the team on a continuous basis.
  • Clear communication – say what you mean and mean what you say; give clear directives; be available to answer questions and address concerns.
  • Listen – listen to what is being said and how the team is acting, interacting or not acting. Keep your ear to the pulse of the team and their progress.
  • Share information and encourage team members to do the same – it is important to emphasize how necessary it is for all members to contribute to the success of the team and sharing information is one of the ways this can be accomplished; be sure and demonstrate how all of the roles and functions work together and the importance of that interaction in ensuring the team meets its goals.
  • Delegate – delegate tasks and problem solving to team members; it is important for the team to work together to problem-solve. This will allow team members to be creative and experience accomplishments together.
  • Value all ideas and suggestions – remember there is no such thing as a stupid question or idea. Sometimes the best solutions come from an idea or suggestion that didn’t seem plausible or possible when it was first presented.
  • Build and encourage trust and cooperation – the relationship between you and the team members is important, but equally as important is the relationships team members have with each other. Pay close attention to the dynamics and interaction between team members. Work with them to continually improve communication, trust, cooperation and respect in their relationships.
  • Be aware of team dynamics – look for opportunities to resolve issues before they escalate, resolve minor problems and mediate when needed, be open to employees and be aware of their feelings. Remember, everyone brings something to the team even when it’s not readily apparent.
  • Use Brainstorming, the Nominal Group Technique (NGT) and Consensus – You may want to facilitate an open discussion about the pros and cons of a situation, or request volunteers to research an issue or investigate options and report back to the team. It’s important to use several options to reach a decision and if you don’t know how to facilitate these options seek out assistance. It is critical to establish a team environment that is open to discussion, debate and disagreement. Team members need to feel comfortable disagreeing with one another to ensure they are able to get to the best decisions. They need to have tools and technique to resolve conflict in a productive way.

While these suggestions are not all encompassing, they will go a long way in helping to build an effective team. Please join us on October 23rd at 8:00 AM PDT for our webinar on Building High Performance Teams. Building an effective team in today’s workplace is even more critical as organizations are downsizing and doing more with less. People must learn to use and improve their skill sets and work together with other team members to meet the goals and objectives of the organization, their division, unit and ultimately, their team.



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