Your company is only as good as the teams that do the work day in and day out. Without a unified body of gifted, passionate individuals who can also work well together, your success will be severely limited. If you want a team that can masterfully execute your company vision, consider implementing these nine strategies.
Hiring is obviously the first stage of team building, so it should be marked by intentionality. If you know your company vision, and the kind of team you want to create, you should only hire individuals who will further these goals. A person’s qualifications or work experience matter, but they should also share your passion and vision. The best teams are those unified around a singular purpose, pursued with a shared zeal. Consider allowing the team who will actually be working with a new hire take part in the interviewing process of applicants. This will not only help the team determine if there is a good fit, but will help break down any barriers that might exist when bringing someone new onboard.
A good team is a confident team; a group in good spirits. Management must take care to encourage their team, keeping a watchful eye on group morale. If an employee’s stress level is too high, a good manager will notice and take action so that the emotion doesn’t sweep over the team like a virus. In the same respect, a manager’s duty is to acknowledge contributions each individual makes to the team. Recognition, especially in a group context, can be an immensely helpful means of encouragement, but a kind word or encouraging email work, too.
No good team stays stagnant. Change is not an enemy; quite the opposite. An effective team will evolve to meet the needs they encounter, adapting to fit their context. They will grow in whatever ways will make them most effective in the ever-changing technological and business climates. Management must watch for changing trends in their field, evolving alongside these trends to better serve their clientele. Because teams are made up of different individuals with unique skills and characteristics managers can help evolve the team by looking for opportunities for individuals to expand on what they already do well and their natural strengths.
A good team values each individual contributor, and in doing so will recognize the importance of listening. Every member of your team is capable of unique ideas and input, but they won’t contribute if they don’t think anyone will listen. You won’t have a true, comprehensive team if some members have next to no involvement, or if your group is made up entirely of yes-men. If everyone listens to each other, however, you’ll have more ideas, increased collective respect, and better morale overall. Some new ideas, creative solutions, etc. can ultimately come from listening while other team members will share without the fear of criticism.
The most successful people—and teams—know when they’ve made a mistake, and aren’t ashamed to correct it. You may make a decision that turns out to be a bad one, but that doesn’t mean you must stubbornly stick with it. Sometimes the very best changes occur as a direct result of a plan that didn’t work. The best teams recognize that course-correction is not something to be avoided, but rather an important part of success.
Conflict can get a bad rap, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Conflict is often the means by which strategies are developed and ideas perfected. Disagreements need not get out of hand, however, allowing the team to exercise different ideas can challenge thinking and see different perspectives. The best teams respect each other, working through their disagreements rather than letting their differences divide them. If managed well, conflict can be a fire that refines rather than destroys.
Teams that thrive do so because their environment fosters creativity. Thinking outside the box is a good thing, and the best workplaces encourage it. At the same time, sometimes getting out of the office is the best way to foster creativity. Spending some time in a new environment can unlock new ideas and produce a more relaxed context for brainstorming and planning. Travel to a new location or experiencing something new or different in a new culture is one way to help teams bond based upon a shared experience.
Building a great team requires a knowledge of what each member brings to the table. Every individual should be in a role that plays to their strengths, placed in that role by management that knows the particular gifts of each team member. But that management should also know themselves and be aware of when to step up or step back. How do their employees view them? How can they better earn respect? Good management—and good teams—are aware of their strengths and weaknesses, utilizing their gifts and improving their weaker aspects.
It’s okay if your team doesn’t end up being best friends outside of work, but it’s still helpful for everyone to get to know each other. People are more than their careers, after all. One of the benefits of spending time together outside of the office is that people can relax a little bit by being free of deadlines, productivity expectations, etc. Learning about each other away from the office helps develop trust, build respect, and create a better environment when you return to your office.
A brilliant corporate vision may see some success, but without a solid team it will never achieve its full potential. A better team makes for a better company.
Planning a corporate retreat? Contact Gavel International for more information about team building and executive retreat planning.