Guest Author - Dianne Walker
While individuals can make great accomplishments, a great team can multiply the chances for success. Team building, in reality, is actually an art form. Great teams do not happen overnight. It takes planning and cooperation from team leaders and members. Here are some factors which will contribute to effective team building:
Don’t isolate team members. The premise is not to divide and conquer, but to collaborate and succeed. Coordinate teams with a cross reference of members. If the output will affect more than one department within the company, involve key team members from the other departments. This will give the team a well-rounded view of the organization. It will also ensure the resolution works for all departments involved.
Build teams with complimentary and counterbalancing team members. All “yes” people will not work. Nor will a team full of individuals with the same skill and mind set. This tends to lead to a flat rather than multi-dimensional approach to solving problems. Believe it or not, a little controversy on a team is a good thing.
Keep team membership to a relatively small size. While this may seem contradictory to the above statement and may not always be possible, the bigger the team, the more room for errors and ineffectiveness. If a large team is necessary, try breaking the task into chunks which can be performed by sub teams. Smaller teams make for easier coordination and fewer communication issues.
Reward group performance rather than set up a competition amongst group members. This is a team and they need to work well together in order to be effective. Setting up challenges to pit team member against team member is not effective team building. Rewarding a team that works well together will put the emphasis back on teamwork.
Team leaders should be sounding boards – to a certain extent. A member of the team who spends the majority of their time complaining about the other team members is not good for morale. If the complainer identifies you as their ally (simply because you listen), you run the risk of alienating other team members. At some point you will need to sit down with this team member to get them back on the “teamwork” track.
A team leader needs to be able to objectively handle team conflict. It’s a great idea to listen to team members as issues arise with other team members, however, there are always two sides to every situation. Avoid choosing sides, but rather mediate for a cooperative resolution.
An effective team is always poised to succeed. A little planning, cooperation – a bit of controversy and effective mediation will help any team to achieve the goal.