One of the things that leaders are often pondering is the performance and relationships of their team. Performance indicators show that effective teams will almost always outperform people working individually, particularly in high-pressure situations or when multiple skillsets are needed.
This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as most organizations are recognizing the importance of team building and are trying to foster it in the workplace. However, building effective teams requires more than an abstract commitment to teamwork; it requires input from managers to foster it.
Without team building skills, a manager risks limiting the productivity of their employees to what each member can do on their own, whereas if you foster team building you can unite your team around a common goal, which will raise productivity as a result.
So here are five steps to building a productive and effective team this year:
Step 1: Establish leadership.
If your employees trust your judgement, they will work effectively even when you’re not around. Before you can start team building, you need to develop the right kind of leadership skills. This doesn’t mean asserting authority, instead try to foster trust through honesty and transparency. Especially in larger organizations, managers can’t be everywhere at once, but if your employees trust your judgements they will work effectively even when you’re not around.
Step 2: Establish relationships with each of your employees.
Try to learn more about each member of your team, their skill sets, how they are motivated and their likes and dislikes. This knowledge is invaluable to leaders, as it allows them to match each employee’s expertise and competencies to specific problems, which will help increase their productivity and job satisfaction.
As well as this, try to include your employees in the decision making process where possible. Instead of delegating tasks, give your team’s open-ended projects and allow them to determine the best solution. This will encourage them to cooperate and develop problem solving skills.
Step 3: Build relationships between your employees.
As your team starts to cooperate more, examine the way they work together and take steps to improve communication, cooperation and trust amongst the team. If there are any conflicts, try to resolve them amicably. Listen to both sides of the argument and act as a mediator. One way to do this is to brainstorm solutions, which helps to empower your employees and may lead to new solutions to the problem.
Step 4: Foster teamwork.
Once you have established relations with and between your employees, it’s time to help them work together effectively. Encourage your team to share information, both amongst themselves and within the wider organisation. Also, try to communicate more with your team. This goes beyond simply holding meetings, and includes things like being open to suggestions and concerns, asking about each team member’s work and offering assistance where necessary, and doing everything you can to communicate clearly and honestly with your team.
Step 5: Set ground rules for the team.
Finally, you can begin officially establishing your team through creating team values and goals, as well as evaluating team performance alongside individual performance. Be sure to include your team in this process, so they know what’s required and agree with it.
Team building is one of the most important responsibilities a manager has. It isn’t something that can be achieved in a short time and then forgotten. It is an ongoing organic process that you a will have to facilitate and guide. As this process unfolds, however, your team members will begin to trust and support one another and share their skill sets and effort in order to more effectively complete your organisation’s goals.
Rosalind Cardinal is The Leadership Alchemist and Principal Consultant of Shaping Change, an Australian consultancy specializing in improving business outcomes by developing individuals, teams and organizations. You can interact with Ros, learn more about leadership and management, and download a complimentary copy of her e-guide on leading change at her website.
The first rule of team building is an obvious one: to lead a team effectively, you must first establish your leadership with each team member. Remember that the most effective team leaders build their relationships of trust and loyalty, rather than fear or the power of their positions.
- Consider each employee’s ideas as valuable. Remember that there is no such thing as a stupid idea.
- Be aware of employees’ unspoken feelings. Set an example to team members by being open with employees and sensitive to their moods and feelings.
- Act as a harmonizing influence. Look for chances to mediate and resolve minor disputes; point continually toward the team’s higher goals.
- Be clear when communicating. Be careful to clarify directives.
- Encourage trust and cooperation among employees on your team. Remember that the relationships team members establish among themselves are every bit as important as those you establish with them. As the team begins to take shape, pay close attention to the ways in which team members work together and take steps to improve communication, cooperation, trust, and respect in those relationships.
- Encourage team members to share information. Emphasize the importance of each team member’s contribution and demonstrate how all of their jobs operate together to move the entire team closer to its goal.
- Delegate problem-solving tasks to the team. Let the team work on creative solutions together.
- Facilitate communication. Remember that communication is the single most important factor in successful teamwork. Facilitating communication does not mean holding meetings all the time. Instead it means setting an example by remaining open to suggestions and concerns, by asking questions and offering help, and by doing everything you can to avoid confusion in your own communication.
- Establish team values and goals; evaluate team performance. Be sure to talk with members about the progress they are making toward established goals so that employees get a sense both of their success and of the challenges that lie ahead. Address teamwork in performance standards. Discuss with your team:
- What do we really care about in performing our job?
- What does the word success mean to this team?
- What actions can we take to live up to our stated values?
- Make sure that you have a clear idea of what you need to accomplish; that you know what your standards for success are going to be; that you have established clear time frames; and that team members understand their responsibilities.
- Use consensus. Set objectives, solve problems, and plan for action. While it takes much longer to establish consensus, this method ultimately provides better decisions and greater productivity because it secures every employee’s commitment to all phases of the work.
- Set ground rules for the team. These are the norms that you and the team establish to ensure efficiency and success. They can be simple directives (Team members are to be punctual for meetings) or general guidelines (Every team member has the right to offer ideas and suggestions), but you should make sure that the team creates these ground rules by consensus and commits to them, both as a group and as individuals.
- Establish a method for arriving at a consensus. You may want to conduct open debate about the pros and cons of proposals, or establish research committees to investigate issues and deliver reports.
- Encourage listening and brainstorming. As supervisor, your first priority in creating consensus is to stimulate debate. Remember that employees are often afraid to disagree with one another and that this fear can lead your team to make mediocre decisions. When you encourage debate you inspire creativity and that’s how you’ll spur your team on to better results.
- Establish the parameters of consensus-building sessions. Be sensitive to the frustration that can mount when the team is not achieving consensus. At the outset of your meeting, establish time limits, and work with the team to achieve consensus within those parameters. Watch out for false consensus; if an agreement is struck too quickly, be careful to probe individual team members to discover their real feelings about the proposed solution.
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
Using words like “power” or “success” to describe a company can sometimes make it easy to imagine a cutthroat environment. However, a competitive workplace shouldn’t run on employees’ fear or feel like a real-life Hunger Games. A powerful and successful company operates best and with the most longevity when employees work with a team mentality, each filling a needed role and fulfilling long-term goals. Here’s what you can do to make sure your team is as strong as it can possibly be for your company.
1. Focus on roles.
A thorough selection process for picking your team members has greater long-term benefits, even if this means you spend more time recruiting than you’d like to. Hiring someone just to have bodies in the room can harm your team. Companies that do this wind up becoming a revolving door, whether it’s because prospective employees see the role as a temporary landing pad and are less interested in learning, or because you decide later on that they aren’t the right fit. This winds up costing you more money in the long run. Investing your time and money in people who truly specialize in the role your company needs will have immense payoffs later.
2. Value each role.
With each team member bringing something special to the table, treating each role as an essential part of your operation is also crucial. Each team member should feel like their job matters, without ever asking themselves, “Why am I even here?” It’s no secret that a sense of purpose helps each employee’s performance. When employees feel that their role is undervalued or perhaps unnecessary, it can become easy to check out mentally as work becomes mechanical and something they completely detach from as soon as the day is over.
The best way to demonstrate value between team members is through communication. It’s difficult to feel like you are part of a team when everybody has information that hasn’t been shared with you yet or when team members don’t fill each other in on what they’re working on. Keep a level of transparency whenever possible with all team members, even if the information doesn’t directly pertain to every person on your team.
Apps like Slack are making it easier to do this without having to think about it. An open line of communication helps your team members to share and create a more productive workflow. Having a weekly check-in or talking beyond discussions of to-do lists can bring great new ideas to the surface or will give someone a chance to help in an area they may not have known about otherwise. “Developing processes and workflows that can be quickly implemented, executed and tracked is crucial to managing your team, especially when faced with rapid growth,” according to Hiawatha Walker, Founder of DENEKADesignCo. “This is typically the first thing I look to address so more time and energy can be spent on the things there is little to no control over.”
In the area of communication, your team should also give each member a voice. Letting the whole team weigh in on feedback and asking for their opinion also helps them to stay engaged and brings them closer to projects. When every team member takes the time to evaluate a decision and form an opinion, they’re attached to the outcome and want to know that their thoughts are considered in the process. Allowing this gives people a feeling of ownership over their work, leading to better performance.
4. Set goals.
Setting short and long-term goals with your team also becomes the foundation for every task they set out to complete each day. Being enthusiastic about the outcome and motivating each other with positive reinforcement will help your team members to make sure that they work with a sense of the big picture, knowing why every task they do is necessary for achieving a longer-term goal. It’s important to note that these goals should be realistic so that you and your team don’t feel like you are working for a lost cause. Having milestones and deadlines can give team members opportunities to help each other out and band together for success.
5. Celebrate successes and failures.
Celebrating your successes and milestones also brings your team together and allows everyone to see that when they work together, great things can happen. If someone does a great job at something, give them a shout out in front of the rest of the team so that every effort is seen and appreciated. This also helps each person to feel visible and that what they’re doing has an impact. In contrast, if your team fails at something, come together to redirect your efforts or turn it into something positive. Don’t throw anyone under the bus or turn a damage-control discussion into a blame game. This never helps anybody. Instead, give your team equal responsibility to put your heads together and figure out the next steps or pivots.
6. Know each other.
You are, of course, never obligated to become best friends on a personal level with your team members. But having a monthly outing or engaging in some offsite socializing can give team members a chance to appreciate one another for more than just the job they do. Getting to know the people you work with helps you understand their style of work and how to have constructive discussions with them on tough days.
You can have a successful team if you do the right things
Building a successful work team can be tough and challenging because it brings together a variety of opinions, values, past work experiences, upbringings, prior team experiences, work goals, and skills in communication and team building. However, teamwork and collaboration can be taught and developed by following 10 key steps to building a successful team.
What Is a Team?
Before building a team, it’s important to understand the purpose of the team. In general, teams are interdependent groups of employees who unite around a particular task, project or objective.
This can have a variety of applications. Teams might be brought together to bridge a gap between departments or they might be brought together for short-term projects or as permanent or long-term approaches to achieving specific goals.
A team with a clear purpose organize different people with different goals and plans into a cohesive whole. When successful, it funnels the energy of team members for the overall good of the organization.
To reach this level of success with your team, you must identify your short- and long-term goals and the skills necessary to achieve those goals. From there, you can begin identifying the right people to recruit for your team.
Team Building Tips
From clear expectations to appropriate methods for collaboration and communication, you can create a successful team. One of the first steps is to hire the highest ranking member of the team first. You want this person to help you put together the right group of people and build an appropriate culture.
If you truly value and want to encourage teamwork and collaboration, your organization’s culture must support your employees in practicing these skills. You need to take the actions necessary to create a work environment that expects, fosters, rewards and recognizes teamwork.
Your work systems and approaches must support collaboration with a reduced emphasis on individual advancement.
Have you ever wondered why some teams are effective and others are dysfunctional for the life of the team? The effective teams have figured out the essentials of interpersonal communication dynamics and relationships.
They are clear about the purpose of the team and about each other’s roles on the team. Further, the team members have figured out how to assess how they are performing as a team constantly—and they check progress and relationships frequently.
One of the fundamental needs in an environment that fosters teamwork and collaboration is empowered employees. They act independently and require minimal direction. Managers in organizations say they want employee empowerment, but they act in ways that undermine the ability of employees to act.
Secrets of Great Communicators
Another critical factor in team success is effective communication. Emphasize the communication techniques that will help you build teamwork and camaraderie with your coworkers.
These techniques zero in on the effective interpersonal behaviors that build the team. If all team members practice the secrets of great communicators, then a supportive teamwork environment is assured.
How to Create Habits
In the normal course of working with each other, team members develop particular ways of interacting and accomplishing work. They fall into habits and patterns around behaviors such as keeping commitments, meeting deadlines, planning next steps, and decision making.
Some of these habits and patterns serve the team well—and some of them undermine the team’s success. Given that a team culture and norms will form in a planned or unplanned way, take the lead and have the team determine what kinds of rules and guidelines will best serve their efforts.
Are you convinced that consciously creating team norms or guidelines will best serve the interests of your team? If so, you can expect a lot of discussions, ideas, disagreement, and even a few contrarians, but developing the norms builds the team.
A good tip for the process of developing norms is to use an external facilitator to run these meetings. This helps ensure an objective process overseen by someone who is less likely to have selfish or ulterior motives.
Keys to Team Success
Teams can benefit from team-building activities focused on helping groups of employees come together as one. There are myriad ways for team-building activities to go wrong, however, and not produce your desired outcomes.
One of the most important factors is follow-up. An activity should be designed to achieve a specific outcome, then that desired outcome should be reinforced in subsequent meetings.
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
Collaboration is a key factor in building a small business because it works. People thrive in environments which free them to communicate and work together. When the company environment is focused on collaboration, team members naturally feel a part of something bigger than themselves. The best way to transition from an individual to a collaborative mindset is to equip each team member for active participation in the group dynamic.
Here are 10 simply ways to cultivate team cohesion:
1. Create a clear and compelling cause.
To create a cohesion, team members must be provided with a convincing reason to be a part of the company mission. The more compelling and exciting the mission, the easier it is to inspire team members to want to be a part of what the company aspires to accomplish. When they are given a clear and gripping cause to be involved with, team members naturally become as passionate about the goals and objectives as their leaders. If team members do not care or are unclear about the goals and objectives presented to them, they will find all kinds of reasons not to work together. For collaboration to work, the vision and purpose must be clear.
2. Communicate expectations.
Collaboration must be communicated to team members as the minimum standard. To foster this, team members must be provided with defined individual and collective roles and responsibilities they will hold within the team. When they have a clear understanding of their position, each team member will work more effectively and without accidentally stepping on another person’s toes creating unforeseen conflicts. In a collaborative environment, each team member experiences what it means to take part in the shared responsibility of results. With this type of focus, what starts out as a goal becomes a crusade with the experience of success changing from an individual achievement into a bonded group experience building comrade and morale.
3. Establish team goals.
To drive success in team members it’s important to set measurable goals for each on a quarterly basis. The purpose of these goals is to provide team members with achievable wins. These wins have a magical way of breaking down barriers and creating positive momentum individually and collectively. Further, it’s imperative to re-evaluate goals and redirect whenever necessary. At each quarter’s end, the outcomes of quarterly goals must be made available to the whole team as a way to measure and celebrate progress, and to determine where improvements need to be made. Working with this type of transparency decreases confusion, finger-pointing and the disintegration of team cohesion.
4. Leverage team-member strengths.
To empower each team member, it is a great strategy to work with their strengths rather than working around their weaknesses. It is a good idea to have each member take a personality test such as the Myers-Briggs, and hold a team roundtable to share results. This is a great bonding exercise because the results allow each person to get to know themselves and their team members in a much deeper way. It also gives team members information about who to go to and for what based upon each person’s individual strengths. When teams are connected in this way, each member is set up for success because they are each assigned tasks that play to their respective strengths.
5. Foster cohesion between team members.
Cohesive teams are more successful. They are successful because each person on the team is included in as many large decisions as possible. When team members feel this type of inclusion, they feel the perceived significance of their role, causing them to naturally perform better. To be the most effective, teams should to participate in daily huddles where each member discusses their goals and objectives for day. This helps to avoid duplication of effort and competition between team members. These huddles keep everyone on the same playbook and enables team members to re-direct their efforts as needed.
6. Encourage innovation.
For teams to grow they must be encouraged to brainstorm and question the status quo in an open and non-judgmental environment. Team members must be coached and led to believe the challenges and obstacles they face can and will be overcome. When a “can-do” attitude is instilled it motivates team members to live up to those “can-do” expectations. It is also important to ask team members for their thoughts, their reasoning and ideas on a regular basis. The more connected and understood they feel to their manager or leader, the more motivated they will be to perform, impress, be creative and to exceed expectations.
7. Keep promises and honor requests.
Most requests and promises are held sacred within a team, but considered optional between other company units or customers. Taking a request from a customer seriously and demonstrating that the team is working to do what they say they are going to do, goes a long way towards building trust and blurring boundaries. The question every customer and every business unit asks of another is, can I count on you? Will you be there when I need you? Do you care about this as much as we do? When team members and customers feel they can depend upon you and your team to deliver what they expect, business grows, relationships grow as does revenue.
9. Encourage people to socialize outside of work.
We all lead busy personal lives and the thought of having one more corporate event we are obligated to attend can add stress. However, socializing with co-workers outside the office is an effective way to open channels of communication, to create a better understanding and break down any walls of pre-judgemental or mistrust between team members. When team members learn they share common interests or wrestle with some of the same challenges outside of work as others, they experience their team members as more real, which helps to decrease individual bias, stereotyping and false objectifying. When we see our team members as human, it makes it more difficult to point the finger at them.
10. Recognize, reward and celebrate collaborative behavior.
The legends of athletic dynasties or standout corporate successes consist of incredible collaborative efforts. Team members often sit in conversation reminiscing over how it all came together. Whether shared through video, newsletter, podcast, annual report or seminar, stories of great collaboration break down the walls of individualism and honor the collective accomplishment. Attaching performance rewards and bonuses to collaborative efforts sends the right message to team members about the values that are driving the business.
Establishing a collaborative environment is just the beginning of a more successful venture. For collaboration to work it must be consistent and purposeful, with resources and rewards dedicated to its success. You may have many standout successes in your company already; but you can increase your productivity exponentially by getting them to work as a collaborative team. When team members feel they are a part of something exceptional they are more than willing to work together to get the ball across the goal line. Collaboration works because there is nothing more meaningful, bonding or growth promoting than a shared win.
Do you want to start an MLM business, build your team and grow effortlessly? If YES, here are 11 smart tips on how to build a network marketing team fast.
Network Marketing is an easy and cheap business that you can start right from the comfort of your home. Like most businesses, network marketing involves the selling of your products or services. However, an additional perk of this line of business is that you can assist others to start their own business and earn an income off their sales volume as well.
Network marketing, also known as Multi-level Marketing (MLM), pyramid Selling, or Referral Marketing, is a type of Business model where independent contractors buy into a company and earn a commission on the products they sell. If you are at a loss on how to build or improve your network marketing team, then these tips will go a long way to help you actualize your aim.
11 Smart Tips on How to Build a Network Marketing Team Fast
1. Never assume the people you recruit are going to take building your network marketing business as serious as you do: it is not uncommon for people to make this assumption. Before you recruit people, do well to ask them why they want to join you and what they intend to gain from doing so.
You should be happy with anyone who wants to just stay on as a customer instead of trying to push them into something they don’t want to do. There will always be more people using the product and not building than those building.
2. Don’t be pushy: instead of being pushy with your approach, try to be pull-y. This means to ask them the right question in order to pull them as opposed to cramming what you want to talk about down their throat. Why did you join? What did you hope to gain? Are those things serious to you? Do you truly want those things? How will you attain freedom if you don’t build this? All of those questions illicit pull type responses from your people.
3. Inspire your team with action: instead of trying to motivate your team, try to inspire them instead. Your actions and inactions will go a long way to inspire you team to take action.
4. Be a Team Builder before you have a team. Even before you have a team, you should be thinking and acting like you have one. See yourself leading calls, making shout outs to your team and start acting as if you are leading a large team. This simple trick will “trick” your mind into thinking you have a large team, and will attract new thoughts into your head that are conducive to having a team.
5. Strive to raise others up: do not strive for constant attention, instead make sure that you raise others up. If you are the one always running all calls and webinars versus bringing people out to share their story and letting them grow, many would-be leaders will not make the journey with you.
6. Spend less than 1 hour a week on training: when you get new members in your team, try your best not to fall into the training trap. This is the trap where you get stuck on an income plateau for a long time thinking that training your team more, will increase your income and your team growth. Spending one hour each week to train your team members via weekly call, webinar or at a live event, such as a home meeting or other live meeting is enough.
Limit this time for yourself and your team, so that you can maximize the income producing activities for yourself and your team. Income producing activities in your team are quite simply defined as activities that involve people who are not on your team yet.
That may mean you are either recruiting, presenting or following up on prospects for yourself or helping someone in your team to do that. Training will not grow a massive team, inviting more people to look at the business will.
7. Unite your leaders: if your team is growing at a slow pace, then you may want to try this. Create an environment where unity, playfulness, a culture of belong, tradition and recognition thrives among your leadership team; it will go a long way to grow your team.
Small steps like having a meeting with your leaders after the presentation, home-meeting or a large event, will make your leaders not just feel special, but it will give them more belief and strength to go further. Encouraging togetherness among your team members is one proven strategy that can improve the life-span of your team and also discourage them from giving up on their dreams too quickly.
In the end, the pace at which we can grow a massive team will always depend on the quality of the relationship that you develop with your leaders. Invest your time in true long-lasting friendships and before you know it, a massive growth will be waiting for you on the other side!
8. Don’t Coach Without Permission: it is not uncommon for people to think that they know more than others and as such, they desperately need their advice in order to achieve their goals and ambition. However, some people do not realize that it is plain rude to start giving network marketing advice to people on your team if they don’t ask. You’re not their mom or dad. If they want advice, they will ask.
9. Shower Love & Recognition: almost everyone loves being appreciated and recognized. When you shower your team members with love and recognize their efforts, irrespective of how much, or how little they make, they will almost never leave. Recognition and feeling like they’re a part of something is so important. Don’t overlook this huge strategy in network marketing team building.
10. Engage New Team Members: you should endeavor to spend time with your team members when they start working with you. Get to know their expectations, how much money they want to make and what their other goals are. Network marketing success looks so differently to so many other people.
Make out time to listen to what they have to say, by doing this, you can be better able to gauge their expectation. People quit things like businesses, college, marriages, jobs, et al., because of false expectations. By simply engaging your new team members, you can cut it off at that point. In other words, you can let them know their expectations aren’t a reality. This will create more sticking power for your team.
11. Stop Striving For Recognition: as a team leader, you should come to realize that recognition is not for you. If you continue to strive for it, you’ll continue taking it away from your team mates. In order to ensure the success of your network marketing team efforts, you should expend your energy in lifting your team mates. Give them a chance to get the recognition that you give instead of taking it.
Every problem companies experience with their employees springs from the same root cause: there is too little trust in the environment. There is too much fear.
Too little trust and too much fear in a workplace has a name: it’s called a toxic work environment.
Poor performance, high turnover, problem employees, tension between teams, burnout, political infighting and lack of commitment — they are all symptoms of a broken culture.
Managers often don’t realize that they create their own leadership problems.
People show up to work ready to get something done and engage their brains. Nobody comes to work to goof off. The reason people get bored and discouraged at work and don’t get much done is because there is something broken in the environment.
Managers and business owners don’t usually get defensive when somebody points out that their facility’s roof is leaking or that there’s mold in the pipes.
These are physical problems that affect the work environment in a big way. When your roof is leaking or there’s mold in the pipes, you call somebody to come out and fix the problem.
However, many leaders get defensive when somebody points out that their culture is broken. They say “No, our culture is fine — we just have bad employees!” and ignore the problem.
That’s their choice, but it’s the most expensive choice they can make. How can employees who are afraid of getting in trouble for making a mistake or arriving to work three minutes late perform at their peak?
How can they perform at all?
Here are ten ways to build trust into your company’s or department’s culture.
You and your fellow managers may have to step out of your comfort zone to make these changes. You may have to step out of your comfort zone merely to suggest making these changes!
If you are filled with dread at the idea of suggesting to your higher-up managers that it might help your company if there were more trust on the team — and that it is possible to move in that direction, if your managers are willing to try it — then don’t do it.
Keep your mouth shut in that case, and look for a better job.
Ten Ways to Build Trust On Your Team
1. The first way to build trust in your organization is to talk about fear and trust as business topics. For many leaders, this is the hardest step to take. We have been trained not to talk about our fears. If there is a high level of fear in your organization already, employees may bite their lips rather than tell the truth about your toxic culture even when the topic appears on a meeting agenda.
If people know that speaking up will get them in trouble, they’ll be quiet or say “Our culture is perfect!” Actions speak louder than words. Your actions will build trust on your team far more than your words will. It may take time to get your employees to trust you, but that time is well spent.
If you want to gauge the fear-versus-trust level on your team, talk about culture at your next meeting. Invite your employees to share their thoughts. If it’s not a safe environment for people to contribute, then they won’t. Don’t blame them. See the sludge in your culture, and take steps to clean it out!
2. The second way to build trust in your organization is to step away from the philosophy of blaming and shaming employees for mistakes. Every mistake is a learning opportunity. If you track your employees’ mistakes but say nothing about their triumphs, you are begging for the best people to leave and only the most fearful ones to stay.
3. The third way to build trust in your culture is to review your employee handbook and policies. Most organizations have way too many picky rules and punishments embedded in their cultures by way of the employee handbook. Your employees are not wayward children. They are qualified, creative adults and value creators. Honor them, and don’t pester them with grade school rules. The typical employee handbook could shrink by 75% — and should.
4. The fourth way to build trust in your culture is to get your executives in front of employees as often as possible and in the most informal settings you can arrange. Tell your CEO and VPs to show up at department meetings so they can meet and mingle with your employees in every function. Get them out among the people who report to them.
If you are a CEO or VP and you’re not spending half your time with non-leadership employees, you are missing out. You are not connected to your team. Let people see you making decisions and leading your staff. Let them get a sense of you beyond your title and your bio. Why be a leader if you only lead through a closed office door?
5. The fifth way to build trust in your culture is to value your employees as people more than you value them as production units. You get to show how much you value your employees every day, in a thousand ways. When you make human decisions instead of mechanical ones based only on dollars and cents or “operational efficiency,” people notice.
6. The sixth way to build trust in your culture is to role model appropriate leadership and get your fellow leaders to do the same thing. Too many managers look at “the employees” as a bloc and seldom think about the individual people they supervise, or their needs or challenges. Real leaders are intently focused on the people who report to them and the energy on the team. Every leader can develop that same focus. You can support one another in the journey!
7. The seventh way to build trust in your culture is to admit when the company makes mistakes, or when you personally make a mistake.
8. The eighth way to build a trusting culture is to use a human voice in your communications with employees. Get rid of the terse, governmental jargon used too often in business communications, and address your employees as the brilliant human beings they are.
9. The ninth way to build trust in your culture is to ask your employees how they’re doing, what they think and what they’d like to see at work — all the time. Don’t do it through an anonymous survey. When you have to promise anonymity to get honest answers from your employees, you’ve already lost the war between fear and trust.
Ask your employees every day how they’re doing — face to face or on the phone. Every supervisor and every HR person can ask “How are you holding up? How are things going?” Of course, once you ask you have to take the feedback seriously. You have to listen, and if appropriate you have to act. That’s the biggest part of a manager’s or HR person’s job!
10. The tenth way to build trust in your company is to be honest with employees. The more visibility your employees can get into the future (and their own futures with your firm) the better. The more they know about the organization’s plans, priorities, challenges and opportunities the more in sync they will be with the leadership team.
The more that managers uphold their promises and commitments, the more trust your employees will have in you — of course.
There is no higher priority for any leadership team or individual leader than to build trust on his or her team. You can start right now!
As entrepreneurs, we understand the importance of company teamwork. We also recognize the challenges that come with blending individual talents and personalities.
Teamwork fosters collaboration and communication that make it easier for employees to handle their work. It’s the glue that holds a company together. Based on my experience as a business owner, I’ve developed the following seven steps for building a strong team culture:
1. Define your team culture.
Start by defining the team culture for your organization. For example, I realized early on that my employees’ actions, interactions and attitudes shaped the effectiveness of our success. So gather your team, and explain how your culture is defined. In the case of my restoration services business, I told my team that our culture is defined by a positive mindset in the office and the field. Each one of us would be better at what we do by pulling together as a cohesive group.
This is critical because by fostering strong team synergy, you create a work environment that minimizes conflict and maximizes success. Differing ideas become problem-solving collaborations, and shared visions bring the future into better focus.
2. Explore how others do it.
When I look for new ways to solve old problems, I often explore how other companies do things. As your team culture evolves, consider incorporating ideas from organizations with proven track records. For example, you could establish your own team-building procedures by learning from businesses as diverse as Google, Southwest Airlines or Zappos.
3. Recognize how you set the tone.
Your company’s team culture is a reflection of your strengths. Make that work for you by instilling your professional personality into developing employee collaboration. Let your enthusiasm inspire team energy, and let your self-discipline serve as a guide to channeling that power.
At my business, my determination sets the tone. For example, I trust my staff to make hard decisions when I’m not there. They ask one another, “What would Diana do?” That attitude keeps us moving forward with positive results.
4. Define your core values and company mission.
Core values are vital to successful team culture. Define yours by sitting down and writing them out. Ask yourself these questions:
• What are your most important personal values?
• Are they the same values you place on professional success?
• Do you look for these qualities in the people you hire?
• What would you never tolerate in the workplace?
Your answers set teamwork standards for everything from job performance to customer service. From there, craft your company’s mission. Develop it as a written statement that defines and communicates your company’s purpose. Use it to strengthen your team culture. A successful business thrives best when it aims for an established goal.
5. Keep expectations clear.
My first year in business, I didn’t always make the best hiring decisions. Those mistakes helped me understand that I needed to make my expectations clear. It’s critical to explain to your team what you expect from them 100% of the time. For example, my employees and new hires all know that I expect these five things from them, regardless of their experience or position in the company:
• Honesty at all times.
• Sincere conflict resolution.
• Pride in always doing their best.
Bad hires happen to the best of us. A new hire might seem like a good fit, but if after a while you begin to have doubts because they aren’t meeting your expectations, it’s important to quickly resolve the issue. Otherwise, older employees might not be happy, and morale could begin to splinter. One individual can upset a healthy team balance in a very short time.
Preserve your company culture by quickly responding to employees who don’t set goals, assume responsibility or respond to feedback. From my perspective, anyone who’s willing to let others carry the load needs to be shown the door.
6. Keep building a team culture.
In my experience, building a team culture requires regular doses of positive reinforcement. A few of the ways you can maintain a healthy team dynamic are:
• Encouraging off-site lunches for launching new projects.
• Offering one-on-one mentoring to address in-house problems.
• Suggesting group involvement in local charity events.
• Hosting employee family activities on the weekends.
7. Make caring part of the job.
The best business culture creates a companywide sense of responsibility.Build team unity on foundations of respect, responsibility, patience and honesty. It all makes caring a part of the job. That builds positive attitudes and a winning team culture. For my employees, that extends to the customers we help every day. For example, our “acts of kindness” policy is an important part of our employee handbook. My teams treat our customers with genuine compassion on a daily basis.
By fostering and maintaining a strong, positive team culture, you can keep your employees happy and make your job easier. It’s simply good business.
President of ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba serving the Chicago area for over a decade in fire and water damage restoration services. Read Diana Rodriguez-Zaba’s full
President of ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba serving the Chicago area for over a decade in fire and water damage restoration services. Read Diana Rodriguez-Zaba’s full executive profile here.
In every workplace, there comes a time when you will need to work on projects as a team. For managers who are not used to group work, it can be a challenge to establish a cohesive team. Even for managers who work with teams all the time, it can still be a challenge to get people to work together.
No matter if you’re building a team for the first time, or just trying to refine the process, here are eight ways to successfully build a cohesive team:
Establish a mission. The most important factor to determine before selecting members is your team’s mission. Decide the goals of the group and how you will accomplish those goals. Then select team members who will contribute best to the mission.
Look for diversity. The most successful teams require diversity. Diverse teams have access to many people with varying skills and experiences. A diverse group will be able to pull from all these experiences in order to achieve the mission.
Practice teamwork. Team-building exercises are the best way to see how individual members will work together to accomplish a goal. Before your team has to work on important tasks, see how they handle something simple like an ice breaker. Who took the lead? Who worked well together? Use what you observe and apply it to the real mission. Plus, your team members will bond with each other in the process.
Utilize individual strengths. Determine the strengths of each team member and assign them to specific tasks based on their strengths. Delegating based on strengths is the best way for the group to accomplish its goals. Be clear about what each member is responsible for and hold them accountable.
Communicate effectively. A team cannot be cohesive if communication is ineffective. Make sure to methods of communication are consistent. Clearly explain the team’s instructions and goals. Make sure all messages are constructed for the benefit of the team.
Give feedback. Throughout a project and after a project is complete, you need to give your team feedback. This should be a combination of individual feedback and for the team as a whole. Explain what worked well, what didn’t, and the results of their project. Constructive feedback will make for a more cohesive team during the next project.
Ask for feedback. Not only should you give your team feedback, but also you should ask them to give it to you. Ask what they thought worked well and not so well. Multiple opinions can really shine a light on flaws in the process. Plus, your team members will feel like their opinion matters when you take it in to account for next time.
Celebrate success. When your team successfully accomplishes the mission you established at the beginning, it’s important to recognize them for it. Make sure the group knows you appreciate their work and thank them.
Building a cohesive team is a never-ending process. With every new project comes different challenges. It is important to consistently make sure your team is working well together and reaching results effectively.
What are some other suggestions for building a cohesive team?
Building a team to deliver quality at all times is a very important aspect of improving efficiency and productivity. A high-performing team will always deliver results. Unfortunately, not all business owners/team leaders know how to build their team to that level of competence and efficiency. Some employers spend a lot of money hiring professional trainers to help them develop their team which may not necessarily effect significant changes in the team’s performance.
Developing a high-performing team entails a lot as it has to deal with developing every member of that team to reach the desired level of performance and productivity.
If you’re looking towards developing a high-performing team, then this article is for you- read on.
What exactly are High-Performing Teams?
To be able to develop a high-performance team, you need to know what a high-performing team looks like.
According to New York Times, they are teams or organization that are highly focused on their goals and achieve superior business results or objectives set before them.
Forbes says high-performance teams are a group of people sharing a common vision, goals, metrics and then go ahead to collaborate efforts, challenge each other and are accountable towards achieving outstanding results.
Let’s See how to shape our team to achieve this model described by New York Times and Forbes.
Characteristics of High-Performance Teams
There are certain values and traits that a high-performing team display. Until our various teams can emulate such characteristics, they will be yet to achieve this feat in terms of performance.
Team members of High-performing team:
- Have a clear vision of their objectives and goals;
- Are enthusiastic about achieving their goals;
- Stay committed to achieving their objectives and goals;
- Act according to clearly defined priorities;
- Have good problem-solving skills;
- Manage conflicts successfully;
- Are accountable;
- Share and exhibit leadership responsibilities and qualities respectively;
- Maintain effective communication and a healthy relationship with each other;
- Make unanimous decisions;
- Execute their respective weights and respect team processes and members.
There are many other characteristics but these are the most common traits that your team should aim towards emulating if they are ever going to become a high-performing team.
How to Develop a High-Performance Team
After seeing the model of how a high-performance team ought to be and the many characteristics they display, how then can we hone our teams into becoming the same as them?
Here are the following ways to develop your team into a high-performing team:
1. Get the Team Composition Right
This is probably the first and important step. McKinsey advises that the team needs to be kept small though not too small. The structure of the organization does not in any way dictate the team’s membership.
A smaller team facilitates decision making because of lack of diversity. The team would make faster decisions and less-poorer decisions. Also, it is easier to choose during succession planning. In a small team, every member’s opinion and voice can be heard which will help increase the togetherness.
Research implies that a team’s effectiveness becomes to dwindle if there exist more than ten members. So first step is slicing your team into a smaller and compact one.
2. Focus on team dynamics
Selecting the team composition is important but not enough towards developing a high-performing team.
Team dynamics as team dynamics is what shapes the team character to enable they achieve extraordinary things or make them mediocre. Ensure that all members totally understand the objectives and goals and that they are motivated towards achieving the pre-set goals.
Furthermore, they must share the same vision else they won’t be in synergy towards achieving the goals. High-quality interaction by members as well as effective communication boosts team dynamics which helps produce results.
Finally, team members must always have a strong sense of renewal where they are energized because they feel confident in taking risks, creating innovating ideas and achieve results that matter.
3. Be a Source of Inspiration
Forbes says that as a team leader, you must go out of your way to ensure your team is always inspired and motivated towards achieving their goals.
This is because a high-performing team goes beyond pull and push. You must and should know how to create energy and enthusiasm in the team. It is your obligation to gauge the teams’ motivation every point in time and give them a refill when you feel the gauge isn’t looking good.
When your team is inspired then they become more confident about their goals and consider achieving it with the highest priority and commitment.
One way is not to give them the hairdryer treatment everytime they fail but encourage and discuss possible alternative ways the goal can be achieved.
4. You must be Trusted
If your team can’t trust you then they can’t be loyal to your or trust your judgements either. They would not bring pressing matters i.e. conflicts, objective issues, etc. to your table because they don’t trust you.
Lack of trust slows down everything because it is the basic pillar in relationships. Build a positive relationship by increasing your team’s trust in you. After which, go ahead to ensure this trust exists among themselves.
You can build trust through:
- Building positive relationship amongst the team and yourself
- Increasing expertise and knowledge- always seek to develop your team’s technical capabilities as this helps them trust their abilities in executing their tasks, and
- Be Consistent in your actions, speech and stay true to your pledges to them.
Building a high-performing team is not easy but it isn’t rocket science either. Implementing the discussed ways will help turn your team into a more productive one that will deliver results.
Also, staff development is pertinent to developing a high-performing team. So keep looking for ways to improve the capability of every member of your team.
A organization and time management tool helps leaders who want to increase the engagement of their teams and manage their human capital.