Building a Winning Team

Sections of this topic

    Winning teams aren’t created by accident. Rather, the team leaders or manager functions like a coach who recognizes special talents in people and gets them to work together toward a common goal.

    The following three steps will help you build a winning team and set it in the right direction.

    1. Select the right team members.
    You may be called upon to assemble a team of players from different departments to take on a special assignment. Or, you have to pick from your own staff those who should work together on a particular project. Too often, leaders merely assess a project’s demands and select people on technical qualifications. But that approach can fail if the personalities and specific talents don’t mesh.

    For example, some people can take a project and run it with little guidance. Others need every detail spelled out. Make sure you have a mixture of necessary skill sets to get the job done. Teams succeed when leaders give as much thought to team relationships as to the tasks that need to be performed.

    2. Get the team off to a good start.
    The first thing you do is to clarify the big picture and goals. Explain the team’s purpose and how it fits in with the company’s or department’s goals. Team members will then become more motivated and empowered to get involved.

    Then explain the “who does what when.” When a team is formed, people often are confused about their particular roles and responsibilities. Get the team immediately involved in setting specific short-term goals. This helps members quickly move from the ‘me’ to the ‘we’ stage of effective teamwork.

    3. Maintain involvement and productivity.
    The next step is to determine a set of ground rules of how they will operate together. Team members need to define effective team behaviors. For example, they need to discuss how they will handle conflict, how they will make decisions, how they will deal with certain kinds of problems, like lateness, absenteeism, etc.

    Management Success Tip

    Look out for these danger signs: Team members don’t take responsibility for their actions or they break into subgroups instead of sharing work or they miss deadlines and lose interest in the work. Have regular scheduled “let’s see how we’re doing” meetings to address issues, conflicts, and uncertainties. Also provide team building and team work skills training.

    Do you want to develop your Management Smarts?