Building a cohesive teamLR
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A cohesive team will be more productive and have a more positive approach to its work. Building a cohesive team means that each person on the team will work effectively with everyone else, and everyone’s unique skillsets will be utilised to the maximum potential.

Building a cohesive team isn’t necessarily easy, however. There needs to be a clear and defined strategy behind the team-building exercise, and there are several things that business leaders should consider when looking to develop that strategy:

1) Aim for diversity

A well-rounded team will draw on the expertise from a wide range of people. This will give the team additional capabilities and perspectives in work, and this will ultimately result in greater levels of creativity, and better results.

2) Set down a specific mission

Before you even start recruiting for a team, establish what that team’s mission will be. This is important in making sure that the whole team will be unified behind that one ultimate goal, and it will help you find the right people for the team (i.e. those that are going to be driven to achieve the mission’s goals).

3) Work on the teamwork!

It’s amazing how many organisations recruit teams and then just leave it at that, assuming that the team will somehow end up working well together. Take your newly-formed team on a team-building exercise to establish who are the natural leaders within the team, and which team members have specific skills that will assist in the pursuit of the mission. Team-building exercises bring your team closer, which is one benefit, but equally, they’ll provide critical information to you on who will be able to step in in the event of a crisis, or who has particularly innovative ideas.
Make sure this is an ongoing process, too. Continue to take your team on these team-building exercises, particularly when you bring new people into the team, or existing people leave.

4) Be clear with communication

Nothing negatively impacts on a team quite like broken lines of communication. If people are missing important piece of information, or feel like the communication lines are too vague, mistakes will be made, there will be misunderstandings between team members, and the overall morale and productivity of the team will drop.

From the outset establish clear lines of communication, and then ensure that those lines are the only channels used for important communication with team members.

5) Make sure the feedback loop is just that, a loop

Building a cohesive team, and being a good team leader, requires that that you also understand how your team is thinking and feeling in their work. You’ll be giving your team feedback, of course, but make sure that your team has the opportunity to provide feedback in return. Asking your team what they think is working, and isn’t working, will validate their role in the team in their mind, and as an additional benefit, you’ll probably get some new creative ideas and approaches from the team.

6) Celebrate success

There should be a sense of reward in working for a high-performing team. When major milestones have been met, it’s important to recognise and appreciate the hard work that’s gone into that achievement.
At the same time, resist singling out individual team members too often. There needs to be a balancing act there – individuals need to feel like their personal contribution to a team is recognised, but at the same time, no one should feel like they’ve been “left behind” when the success was a team effort.

Finally, it’s important to remember that building a cohesive team isn’t a matter of “set-and-forget” – it’s important that once you’ve found the right people for the team, your efforts to bring them together and working cohesively is ongoing.

For more information on building effective and cohesive teams, contact Be Challenged; building winning teams is central to what we do.

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