Team Building 101

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Since teams typically can accomplish larger projects than individuals working on their own, knowing how to build an effective team is vital to achieving a company’s goals. If you are a manager or an entrepreneur, team building skills are a must. Even if you’re not yet in a leadership position, understanding the basics of building teamwork will make you more effective in your role.

What’s the best way to motivate and enable a group of people to reach a goal?

  • Set Specific Goals and Objectives. A shared vision of the goals and objectives of a project is essential for successful teamwork. Determine what outcome you want, the consequences of accomplishing or not accomplishing the goal, how you will measure the outcome and the deadline for completion.
  • Consider The Resources Available. Consider what resources you have to work with. What human help is available? Do your prospective team members have the skills required to meet the goal? How may members’ strengths and weaknesses fit in with those of other potential team members? Will your prospects feel the goal is important? Will the team have the equipment to complete the job successfully? Is there a budget?
  • Delegate to and Empower the Team. In order to motivate successfully, you must delegate the work to the appropriate team members. Determine who is capable of performing what tasks, so each can complete that tactic on his or her own, building a sense of ownership. As a general rule, try not to overlap authority for tasks. The best teams are those where each team member feels he or she plays a critical role on the team. Make sure members understand why they are on the team and how they can use their skills to improve performance. Also, feel free to share job skills and knowledge with the team, which will encourage them to do the same.
  • Communicate Openly. Communicate the goals, objectives you are seeking, how reaching the goal will benefit the company and employees, the consequences of accomplishing or not accomplishing the goal, how you will evaluate the team and the project timing. Encourage team discussions to ensure that all members clearly understand what they are working toward and who is responsible for what task. Encourage honest and open communication between team members and the team leader about the goals. This will allow the group to share in the decision making process
  • Build Trust. In order for a team to be successful, members must trust the other members of their team. Make each member feel a part of the team and ensure that all members treat everyone fairly and equally
  • Encourage Active Participation. When members hide behind their other team associates, it causes low team morale. Hold each member to high standards, and discipline those who are not doing their job. Also, encourage cooperation of the individuals on the team rather than competition. Collaboration is critical for a successful team.
  • Review Team Progress and Ask for Feedback. Request that your team report to you regularly on project progress and any obstacles they may be encountering. Be careful not to micromanage, as this will make your team resentful and may make them nervous
  • Reward or Train. Show your team that you recognize their efforts and that you care. If the team reaches its goals, offer a reward or praise team members in public. People thrive on praise and it will further motivate them. If the team does not reach its goal, let the members know in private and consider offering further training.
  • Effective team building will increase productivity, create a positive experience, encourage collaboration and increase your management credibility. It allows each team member to use his or her strengths in full, compensating for others’ weaknesses, and creating an atmosphere that generates personal motivation allowing them to do their best.