Making the Most of Your Team

Great work teams are like engines. You can fit your car with the most powerful V8 engine on the market, but refusing to care for it and give it oil won’t do you much good. Similarly, putting together a group of talented, high performers doesn’t always guarantee that a quality sense of teamwork will emerge organically. If you implement the right principles into your organizational teams, it won’t be long until they’re operating like a well-oiled machine.

In order for your team to be the best it can be, every person on the team must:

Feel Important

If just one team member doesn’t feel like they’re making a difference, it will throw off the chemistry of the entire group. It can lower the employee’s morale which not only affects their performance, but that of their teammates as well. This can also make them less likely to communicate their ideas, causing you to lose valuable potential input. Make sure every employee has clear set goals and objectives which have a tangible impact on the group’s progress, and don’t be shy about giving positive recognition for all employee contributions and ideas, no matter how big or small.

Be Well-Acquainted

Unless we’re talking about Survivor, groups of strangers don’t usually make the best teams (and even then, they’re always betraying each other).

It goes without saying that everyone should be properly introduced and encouraged to get to know each other, but if you truly want to foster a harmonious sense of familiarity and rapport among colleagues, you should go beyond that by implementing some team-building activities. While the phrase itself is sure to induce some eye-rolling, research has shown that team-building activities can have a positive effect on all team outcomes. Hint: Make your employees magically fall in love with these activities by scheduling them during work hours.

Be on the Same Page

A team cannot function effectively unless there are clear lines of communication among all team members and a common understanding of how the team operates. Basic expectations and standards should be made apparent from the very beginning, as well as long-term goals that the team hopes to accomplish – short-term goals for individual projects should be defined as well. Each employee should always have a say in the formulation of these goals and objectives, and should constantly be encouraged to share their ideas and give feedback.

Trust One Another

Trust among colleagues is absolutely imperative in order for a team to perform at the most optimal level. Trust doesn’t just happen overnight, however – it needs to be nurtured over time. As a team leader, you can act as a role model for trustworthy behavior by being honest about your faults, acting as a supportive advocate for your employees, and always exhibiting a respectful attitude. Encouraging each team member to conduct themselves in the same way will boost trust among the group.

A great team is more powerful than the sum of its parts. Take the time to promote a positive sense of teamwork in your organization instead of simply hiring a group of star employees and saying “go” – your company will reap the benefits in no time.

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