Creating A Cohesive Team
Whether you are leading a small team, managing a large department, or are part of a group of professionals, your personal success is going to hinge on building an ambitious, motivated team that can work together towards a common objective. Ensure your team keeps meeting and exceeding their targets.
“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress and working together is success”, Henry Ford, one of the great industrialists of the 20th century, said that about the importance of teamwork and of how it applies to businesses of all sizes.
Today’s economy is more diverse and more fiercely competitive than ever before, and yet Ford’s insights still ring true today. Even where targets are met individually, they are meant to be assigned to all members of a team. A team that meets and exceeds its combined targets is far more valuable than one where only a few succeed and the rest fail.
Work together for success and against the corrosive effects of disunity. Infighting or squabbles with other departments isn’t just bad for morale, it also leads to lost business. We once worked with a company that had lost a quarter of a million dollar account because the sales and the engineering teams didn’t trust each other enough to communicate properly. That’s a tough loss for any company. Worse still, it’s entirely preventable.
Implement the following five steps to create a cohesive team
1. Choose people whose team skills even the balance
When hiring professionals, be sure to look for people who demonstrate more than just a healthy handle on the technical elements of the job. They need to show they have team-oriented skills, too. These are not contradictory qualities. All proven businesspeople have the motivation and the tools to succeed on their own – but the truly exceptional ones are able to help others on their team succeed as well.
2. Open the communication channels in-house
Ensure you are communicating cross-departmentally on a regular basis. Bring in your engineering teams, your implementation teams, and your customer service teams, etc. so you can have meetings that inform each group about what the others are doing in the common pursuit of reaching organisational goals.
3. Eliminate ambiguity
Within your team, ensure everyone is clear about their function and about how they are being paid. Teams can quickly become dysfunctional when staff are expected to perform well while dealing with unanswered questions (e.g. “Is that my KPI or yours?” and “Do I get paid incentives for this service I’m providing?”). Fill in the gray areas. Create well-defined job descriptions and compensation agreements.
4. Don’t compete against your own team
Some of the most dysfunctional teams I’ve coached got that way because the leader was competing directly against their own team. Your job is not to do the work directly: it’s to help each person do their job more effectively.
5. Celebrate success
Dysfunctional teams stay that way because all they hear is bad news or negative feedback. Granted, incentives can be a fine motivator on an individual level, but what I am talking about here is what you can do to show that money isn’t the only reward for hard work. Good businesspeople leave organisations when they feel they’re not being recognised. So celebrate wins. Ensure that every team member feels like they are contributing. Ask for their opinions. If other departments have also helped in a win, make sure you include them in the congratulations as well.
A happy, motivated team that knows what it has to do, how it is going to be paid and communicates throughout the organisation is the team that’s going to help you meet and exceed your goals … year after year.
By Colleen Francis
Republished from the International Institute of Directors and Managers (IIDM) www.iidm.com