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Having a successful business requires the employees to come together and work well as teams. The more cohesive and effective the team, the greater the productivity back into business. Building a successful team doesn’t just happen automatically, and nor is it a matter of hiring the right people (though that’s also important). Building an effective team requires work and initiative from management, as well as clear policies and investment, with clearly defined end goals to work towards.

There are nine key things to keep in mind in developing a team building strategy:

1) Make sure that everyone on the team understands the team goals. When everyone is working towards the same result, the cohesion within the team will be better.

2) Clearly define responsibilities and KPIs. Each person on the team should not have an overlap in authority or responsibility wherever possible; it’s better to split a project down into components and then give each employee complete responsibility over their section. Overlaps in authority can lead to conflict and/ or confusion.

3) Keep lines of communication open. Employees should have access to their immediate reports at all times, and the executive layer should make themselves available, and keep informed, on each project. Not only does this help catch mistakes before they become disasters, but it’s good for the team spirit to know that what they’re doing matters to the senior members of the organisation.

4) Building trust is important, both within the team, and between individuals and their reports. Be as honest and open with the staff as possible, and show them loyalty – if staff feel like you’ve got their back, they’ll be far more inclined to be confident in their job (and loyal to the organisation)

5) Undertake team activities so that staff can develop that level of trust and openness between one another. It’s a good idea to also organise events to allow the team to socialise with one another outside of a work context to build deeper relationships with one another.

6) Be alert to interpersonal issues. If two people on the team are clashing for whatever reason, then manage the issue early and quickly, before it can start to impact on the whole team, or the integrity of the project.

7) Present negative feedback in a positive way; criticism and accountability are important in the workforce, but it should be constructive and an opportunity to develop skills and improve. You should also be encouraging people to be creative and have ideas, but in order to do that, they also need to be comfortable with making mistakes.

8) Successes should be celebrated. Letting employees know that they are valued within the organisation is an important way of stimulating morale. Note: it’s important that this doesn’t come at the expense of others – as much as an “employee of the month” can be good for the person receiving it, other staff might feel underappreciated as a result. It’s better to celebrate successes without turning it into a competition.

9) Give people a say; where there are decisions that need to be made on a project, make sure that there’s a feedback process built in, and make sure that it’s a genuine one. People should feel like their voices are being heard and, when the idea is a good one, it’ll be implemented, even if the heads of the project hadn’t thought that way by themselves.

Building a team takes work, and none of this can happen without the business leaders sitting down and thinking hard about how to build their organisation’s culture. It’s a good idea to assign someone within the organisation (generally someone in HR) the role of managing culture, and then asking them to develop plans that address the nine points above.

It’s also a good idea to look at undertaking team activities, which can develop many of the above points simultaneously. Be Challenged is the leader in providing Australian organisations with team building activities. Contact us today to discuss how we can help your organisation.

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