How To Build Successful Teams

How To Build Successful Teams

Teams are not the same as groups as they need to be planned, built and maintained. People working together in the same place many not be a Team and actually may not need to be one.

Successful Team Building can:

  • Co-ordinate the efforts of individuals as they tackle complex tasks
  • Make the most of personal experience, expertise and knowledge which might otherwise remain untapped
  • Raise and sustain levels of motivation and confidence as the team offers support and encouragement
  • Encourages ideas to be created and shared in a way that would not otherwise happen with just individual members of staff working alone
  • Helps to break down communication barriers and avoids unhealthy competition
  • Raises the level of individual and collective empowerment
  • Bring ownership of tasks and responsibilities

When Teams may not be the answer:

  • Where one person has all the knowledge, expertise and resources to do the job on their own
  • Where there is no real common purpose, ands a group is called a Team, wrongly

Key Questions about Teams:

  1. Do we really need a Team? Not every job needs a Team to complete it. One skilled individual working alone can be very effective and efficient in delivering outcomes if properly supported and encouraged but where a range of expertise, knowledge and skill is required, a Team will be needed.
  2. What are the objectives that need to be achieved? The broad outcome of the project or initiative is essential here, closely matched to the skills needed to complete the task or project.
  3. What is the Team Building strategy? Investing time at the outset is critically important in getting the right operating environment and in encouraging the Team to develop and grow. The following are essential for success:
  • A climate of trust, where mistakes and failures are seen as learning experiences
  • Free flow of information to all who need it to get on with the tasks
  • Training in communication and negotiation skills to be able to handle working collaboratively
  • Time for co-ordinating activities, developing thoughts and monitoring progress and for regular meetings
  • Clearly understood and accepted objectives
  • Feedback which allows staff to know how well they are getting on with the task and where improvements can be made, with a focus upon the positive aspects and ways of dealing with the negative ones
  1. Should we get the Team together? An initial meeting is essential and then a series of planned meetings, with a published schedule, should be published. Discussing the outcomes and objectives is needed to make sure that the personnel involved are focused and committed.
  2. What about ground rules? There must be a commitment to open and honest communication in a safe and supportive environment, rules about listening to and respecting others and an agreement to be bound by decisions that are made including any reporting of issues and progress.
  3. Should the strengths of the individuals in the Team be recognised? Carry out an audit of the individual members of the Team so that the wider Team can benefit from knowing about expertise available to them.
  4. Should the manager be a member of the Team? The person managing the Team MUST be a member of the Team, both as a role model and to maintain an oversight of activity and communication.
  5. How should meetings be structured so that time is not wasted? Set up regular, but brief, meetings that focuses upon:
  • An opportunity to ask “How are we doing?”
  • Reviewing progress on the task in terms of time, cost and quality
  • Reflecting upon how the Team is working
  • Identifying any gaps or problems arising from reviews, planning and implementing activity and acting upon any corrective measures needed

Good Luck!

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