Regardless of how professional or experienced its members might be, it’s hard to toss a group of people together, label them a team, and then just expect results. All definitions of the word team include some variation of the term “unified” or “come together.” What truly makes a team is like mindedness, shared goals, and a cohesive understanding of each other.
If you’re ready to build an efficient team that tackles workloads effectively and with gusto, keep in mind these do’s and don’ts.
Do Ensure Participation in Team Building
Team building exercises, group think meetings, group recreation away from work—these can all be powerful tools for increasing how well your team works together. These sorts of events allow the team to learn more about each other, letting them suss out strengths, weaknesses, and other important tidbits that can clue them into how best to organize their work and share the load together.
Do Fully Understand All Members of Your Team
Not everyone is a social butterfly or self-driven aspirant. You’ll have introverts, the timid, the loners, and the “I can do it all myself” too. By understanding your team completely you can figure out how best to use each member. Challenging comfort zones can be an excellent way to make your team grow, but it has to be done gently, and with a full understanding of what makes each member of your team tick.
Do Remember That You’re Part of the Team, Too
As the leader, it's your responsibility to arm your team with the right resources and guidance they need in order to complete tasks efficiently. Be sure that you’re taking part in team building, too, and that you take the time to address your team and ask what you can do for them. Strong leadership skills can rally your team behind your flag, transforming them from a ragtag bunch to a unified force dedicated to reaching goals.
Don’t Expect Results on Day One
Lots of things can’t be built in a day, and a team is one of those things. The best teams work for months or even years before attaining a completely copacetic state. That doesn’t mean you can’t cobble together a great team, but it does mean that patience needs to be one of your strongest virtues while you allow the team time to integrate and build up trust.
Don’t Take Competition Too Far
Competitiveness and competition as a whole can be very useful in the workplace. It motivates, provides clear goals, and rewards team members for going the extra mile. But do not hinge the overall success of your projects on the merits of one or two particularly competitive individuals. Not everyone is interested in competition, and for some it may be stifling. If you plan on competition being a part of your team, make rewards fun, simple, and optional.
Don’t Leave Conflicts Unaddressed
Sometimes people don’t get along, and that’s a fact we have to face. If you plan on using team members that don’t normally cooperate well, you must be prepared to work with each of those members in order to identify their sticking points and try to find a solution. “Grow up” isn’t a solution, and if that’s all your leadership amounts to then you have to expect a reduction in team efficiency by knowingly incorporating friction.
A team operating efficiently is a beautiful thing. And it’s not a hard thing to build! It simply takes some time, nurturing, and some investment in human agenda.