How to create effective teams? What comes to mind when you think of an effective team? High-performing teams demonstrate accountability, purpose, cohesion, and collaboration. It is a team that works transparently as a whole. Each brings unique talents and strengths and supports each other to bring out the best in each. How to create one?
Effective teamwork is essential in today’s world. In your experience, you would have noticed that a team does not become effective from the start. For teams to work effectively, they must be created correctly. It’s really hard to get it right from the start to make sure you get the level of efficiency you want when building a new team. The task is much easier if you have a plan in place. This article summarizes a practical, step-by-step process for building and maintaining an effective team.
1: Pre-work – Analyze and Plan:
Most managers rush into the work of building the team without getting clear agreements at the start on where they are going or how they want to get there. Clarifying and understanding your expectations of the new team from the start will help you determine its structure and set your team up for success.
Do the groundwork for step 1 itself. Understand the nature of the work that needs to be done. Determine if a team is needed to complete the task. Once you’ve established the need for the team, start by defining your team’s goal. What is his ultimate goal that this team should aim for? What are your expectations of the team members? How will your team contribute to your organization’s goals and mission? What authority should the group have?
Then create a team charter to help clarify your team’s goals. Focus on the aspects listed below when creating a charter and clarify each of these aspects of teamwork. Discuss the questions listed and write down your agreements. Many of these questions can be answered immediately. Others will need to be answered or changed as you enter the training stage.
- What is the purpose of this team? Why does it exist? Why is it worth investing in this time and effort?
- What shared values are needed to guide our approach to our work and how we work with each other?
- What does success look like for this team? How will we measure success?
- Who is the team responsible to? How will we track and report progress on commitments and action items?
- What planning and problem-solving process will we use? What are the holdups ?
- How are we going to make decisions? What decisions can be made by sub-groups and what decisions should be made by the whole team?
- What are the deliverables?
- What is the team’s approval matrix and authority? Do any decisions require outside approval? If so, how will approval be obtained?
- How are we going to organize ourselves to get the job done? What is the best structure? What roles are needed?
Try to ensure that no tasks or responsibilities overlap unnecessarily between roles, as this could cause problems later.
2: Onboarding – Getting the right people on the bus:
Once you’ve defined your goals and identified roles and structures, the next step is to identify and make a list of the type of people you want on your team. Focus on the questions listed below to better understand the talent and expertise you need for your team:
- Who are the team members and what are their main areas of expertise?
- What strengths should each person have?
- Is other expertise needed or is technical capacity expected?
- Are there behavioral expectations – for example, a positive attitude, emotional intelligence or team spirit?
- Are there other groups or individuals who need to be represented or consulted?
- How is the team supported financially? Do we have the necessary materials and technology?
- Are the time demands placed on team members understood and considered reasonable?
- What information do we need? Do we have access to all the information we need?
- Do our team members need special training?
Great managers know that talented people are their greatest resource and the hardest asset to find and keep. The key to building an effective team is spending an inordinate amount of time on people’s issues: finding, recruiting, developing, coaching, and providing feedback. Start by spending time making sure the team is made up of all the personnel needed to get the job done. The next step is recruiting and setting boundaries by deciding who is and isn’t on the team. When recruiting new people, be sure to recruit efficiently and professionally. Analyze your roles and build a recruitment process that secures the best possible talent to fill those roles.
3: Create performance conditions:
During this phase, agree on the tasks to be performed with the new members of your team and also take the opportunity to clarify the expected behaviors of each member of the team. Use your team charter to better understand the team’s goals. Each person should clearly understand the goals of the group and should know how these fit with the overall goals of your organization.
Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) linking your team’s tasks to your organization’s goal and objectives and use these indicators to start managing performance. Team members need to be clear about the definitions of these KPIs and need to understand how they directly affect them so that they understand their deliverables and how they will be measured. Provide all materials and equipment needed to do the job effectively.
4: Build trust:
As your team begins to work together, allow some time for people to get to know each other, because at this point you need to establish a way for each team member to exchange ideas and share ideas. build mutual trust. Successful groups are built on trust and collaboration. A free exchange of ideas, in an open environment, will allow your team to get to know each other and allow you to check how they are working together. You might even consider personal team-building exercises to help build team confidence and bond.
Setting up a series of informal meetings at the start of your project provides an ideal opportunity for exploration of team members. Like other teams, your people will most likely progress through several predictable stages of team building and help them bond with one another as they transition from strangers to forming a cohesive team. Use this time to discuss your project, delegate particular tasks, define individual roles and discuss goals. Always make sure everyone involved understands every step of their involvement.
5: Provide ongoing support:
A good team will satisfy its internal or external customers, grow stronger as a unit over time, and foster the learning and growth of its individual members. You may want to conduct a training needs assessment of your members to determine if people need additional training or specific opportunities to develop their skills. You can refer to the expectations you captured in the team charter and, based on your observations, map out a development plan to help new team members acquire the skills they need. Many team leaders and organizations limit training to the initiation stage, but an ongoing training process will help them become more effective.
6: Motivate, reward or provide feedback:
One of the most important roles you play as a team leader is keeping individuals motivated and energized to keep working for organizational goals. Try to adapt your efforts according to the different needs of each individual (refer to the situational leadership model). Building effective teams is an ongoing process – keep reviewing each step of this process regularly.
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