Winning Teams Aren’t Created By Accident

Sections of this topic

    Rather, the team or project leader functions like a coach who recognizes special talents in people and, at the same time, gets them to work together toward a common goal. The following steps will help you select a cohesive team and set it in the right direction.

    1. Evaluate team candidates.
    You may be called upon to assemble a team of players from different or competing organizations 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. Teams succeed when leaders give as much thought to team relationships as to the tasks that need to be performed.

    Team members should complement each other’s talents. For example, one worker may find it easy to come up with idea, but may find it difficult to analyze problems. Another worker may have analytical skills but may not be creative. These two would play to each other’s strengths. Also recognize that 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.

    2. Get the team off to a good start.
    To help members quickly move from the ‘me’ to the ‘we’ stage of effective teamwork, clarify the following:

    • The big picture and goals. Explain the team’s mission or purpose and how it fits in with the company’s or department’s goals. Therefore members will become more motivated and empowered to get involved.
    • The talent on the team. Discuss the value of each member – the skills and expertise they bring to the team. You may also want to let each person tell about their experiences. This starts to build trust and teamwork.
    • 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 establishing specific short-term objectives as well as determining the steps required to accomplish these objectives.

    3. Maintain involvement and productivity.
    At this stage, members begin to understand what roles they need to play in order to reach the team’s objectives. 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 address the normal challenges of people working together.

    4. Look out for these danger signs.
    You have a problem if members: Don’t take responsibility for their actions; break into subgroups instead of sharing work; expect others to solve their problems; miss deadlines and lose interest in their work. If problems arise among team members, act quickly.

    Have regular scheduled “let’s see how we’re doing” meetings to address issues, conflicts and uncertainties. Also provide on-going skills training in group problem-solving, decision making and conflict resolution.

    Management Success Tip:

    Don’t expect teams to develop in the dark or by accident. Create an environment for teamwork. Make sure you have provided the light that will spark member’s involvement, participation, and productivity.Remember to have fun together. that allows people to work better together.

    Do you want to develop your Management Smarts?