Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Building a Team

As a business leader it is your role to get the most from your staff.  You must become the team coach, not the centre-forward.  You must create the conditions for your team to succeed whilst striving to remove any dependency on your own efforts or technical knowledge.  Here are some guidelines for creating a successful team.
-          Define a shared, clear, worthwhile purpose for the team – and continue to reinforce this
o   Define clear boundaries for the team and empower every member to question things within those boundaries (not only in their own area of responsibility)
o   Define the desired outcomes.  Make these challenging but not demoralisingly difficult
o   Make sure there is regular, objective, actionable feedback on team performance
o   Make improved team functioning, or dynamics, one of the desired outcomes
-          Create wholesome team dynamics*
o   The foundation for any high-performing team is trust amongst the members.  People must feel able to be open about fears and failings and to give and receive honest feedback
o   Trust enables constructive conflict, which is necessary to surface and explore options and arrive at optimum decisions
o   Constructive conflict, where everyone has had their opinions heard and debated, allows buy-in from all members to the agreed team goals and decisions and their part in delivering them
o   Because individuals have bought in to the team goals and decisions, individuals are prepared to be held responsible for delivering their elements of the plan and to hold fellow team-members accountable in turn
o   Shared goals and mutual accountability means that the team is focused on results
-          Build in diversity amongst the members
o   Don’t allow superstars to rule the roost.  Everyone, including them, puts the team first.  If your star performers can’t understand and deliver this then drop them from the team
o   Make sure everyone recognises their own strengths and weaknesses and those of their colleagues.  Make sure they understand that great teams are made up of individuals with complementary abilities
o   Respect amongst members starts with individuals having self-respect.  Make sure everyone understands how their contribution is valued and inculcate a sense of belonging and feeling of achievement in all team members
-          Create pride within the team
o   Look for opportunities to build the team’s respect and reputation in the wider organisation and beyond
o   Create opportunities to build team coherence beyond the task – perhaps through  social bonds
o   Acknowledge and reward their achievements
*Based on  “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”, Patrick Lencioni