Building an Effective Team
We’ve all been part of a team that just didn’t click. Perhaps, it was because there was no real leader. Or, maybe there was a lot of conflict – and it was never addressed. It could have been because you never got anything accomplished.
For whatever reason, the team just wasn’t effective.
How it Feels
And how did it make you feel to be a part of this team?
All of the above?
Probably all of the above – depending on the day.
But let me tell you something, building an effective team is a skill. It takes practice. It takes time. It takes a little bit of trial and error.
To be 100% honest with you…the ability to lead a team is a skill I continue to work on – because I don’t know that I’ll ever perfect it.
If you’re new to leading a team or you’re working to build an effective team right now, I’m going to share my favorite tips – so here goes!
Set the expectations
When you are building a team – whether it be a team you lead on a daily basis or one you’re bringing together for a project – it’s essential that everyone knows the expectations. Don’t think that your team is going to be able to read your mind. You want to clearly communicate what the expectations are – and you are going to want to share them over and over again as work continues. (This does not mean that expectations don’t change – it means that they are communicated – maybe even over-communicated.)
Respect everyone involved
When you bring a group together, there will always be people who may not be so crazy about someone else on the team. They may even dislike someone. But there needs to be mutual respect amongst everyone. Each person has a job to do, and each person has to be respected enough to allow them to do their tasks. (And your team has to trust you enough to know that you’ll handle it if things aren’t getting done.)
If any conflicts arise on your team, don’t try to sweep them under the rug. That’s not going to do you or your team any good. Instead, address them – as soon as possible.
Help your team to make connections – with you and each other. This can be done at work – or outside of work. But when a team feels connected – the job of working together becomes infinitely easier.
Have you ever had a leader who just seemed to be going through the motions? No spark. No “oomph.” No motivation at all. What did that do to you? I bet it left you feeling unmotivated, too. Make sure you, as the leader, are motivating! Demonstrate your energy and passion for your employees – or your project – and your team will follow suit.
Ensure the lines of communication are open
You want everyone on your team to feel like they can communicate with you and everyone else. Make sure the lines of communication are open. Demonstrate good communication skills and let your team know that you are always there to listen.
Keep your promises
If you make a promise as team leader, keep it. Whether it be with a deadline, a needed resource, a secret – whatever it is – you want to show that you are reliable, trustworthy, and able to keep your word.
Reward valuable contributions
If you have team members who go above and beyond or contribute something that is special or valuable – recognize them. Reward their efforts. Creating a culture of recognition is key to building an effective team.
As a team leader, providing feedback – both positive and negative – is a skill you must have. Your team needs to know if they’re on the right path – or if they need to make some adjustments.
I love this quote by Henry Ford: "Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success." Please keep it in mind as you work to build an effective team. Henry Ford Tweet