How to Build an Effective Team
If you want to build a successful team, all you need to do is put the best people together, right?
Well, not quite.
Building your dream team is not as easy as picking the highest performers and throwing them in a room together. It requires deliberate decisions and delicate care to create an effective team. And because teams act as the vehicle to your goal, getting the right team is an important step towards success.
Here are four ways to build an effective team.
Deliberately Choose Members
The people involved are the heart of the team. They bring the ideas, the talent, and the hard work. Make sure you choose the people who will be committed to the team goals without ever settling, even if it takes a little longer to find the perfect member. And if one of your members underperforms in the beginning, don’t be afraid to replace him or her with a new member. You want to ensure that you are finding the best fit for the team.
When choosing members, look at the task with a multidisciplinary approach. You don’t need five members on the team with the same marketing skills. Instead, increase the versatility of the team by choosing members with different skillsets. Your team should have both creative and analytically minded people. The more diverse perspectives you can attain, the better.
Define Goals and Responsibilities
Once you have your team, you should clearly define the goals of the team. All team members need to be on the same page about what direction the team is going. A project overview statement will help you define problems, goals, and success criteria. When team members know what they are working towards, they will have a source of motivation throughout the process.
Additionally, everyone should have a clear idea of their team responsibilities. When members know what they should do and when they should do it, the team effectively moves towards the shared goal. Defining roles and responsibilities at the beginning, keeps the work evenly divided between members and keeps the team on a schedule. Using tools such as a GANTT chart are helpful in outlining the individual steps of the project.
There is no question that when the team works as a cohesive unit, it tends to function better as a whole and reach goals effectively. But how exactly do teams become a cohesive unit? They build relationships with one another. Getting to know one another in the early stages through team outings helps to build a solid foundation on which the teams can grow together. In fact, research shows that when leaders and executives foster social relationships within the team, that team is more collaborative.
Another way for teams to strengthen their relationships is to develop a team identity. Creating a team identity can be as simple as a team name and logo or as elaborate as specific meeting rituals and victory celebrations. Even team quirks can become part of the larger identity and should be embraced.
Grow From Conflict
Let’s face it: Conflict is inevitable, especially in the early stages of team building. As members settle into the new team, conflicts arise as individuals find their place on the team and get to know one another. It’s important to know how to handle conflict in a productive way to ensure that the team can learn from it and move on to reaching the shared vision. There are two kinds of conflicts on teams– relationship conflicts and task conflicts.
Relationship conflicts can be detrimental to any team environment and must be handled as quickly as possible. These kinds of conflicts stem from clashing personalities of team members. The members should sit down with one another and learn how to work with each other in a respectful, professional, and productive manner. Occasionally, an executive or team leader may need to meditate to find ways for the members to work with one another.
On the other hand, task conflicts are actually beneficial to the team. These conflicts stem from differing ideas and perspectives on how to solve problems or handle situations. When the conflict is related to a specific task, it brings diversity in ideas to the team, which allows the team to move towards the best idea or solution. Of course, these conflicts must be handled in a respectful manner for any progress to take place. When team members have contrasting ideas, they should respect one another and allow all members to voice their ideas.
For a team to be effective and successful, leaders must build them in a deliberate way. When you take prudent steps and invest in the making of a team, you move closer to reaching your overall goal.